With only a few days since he took office, United States President Joe Biden and his top security officials have emphasized the importance of securing support for their allies Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, and making it known that Washington rejects China’s disputed territorial claims in those areas.
It should be taken as a clear warning to Beijing against any expansionist intentions in East and Southeast Asia. In multiple calls and statements, the newly inaugurated president of the most powerful country in the world, Joe Biden, and his top security officials have emphasized the importance of supporting their allies Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and the Philippines, clearly showing Washington’s stance on China’s disputed territorial claims in those areas.
On Wednesday, Biden reassured Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga about his administration’s commitment to defend Japan, including the Senkaku Islands, which are claimed by both Japan and China, which calls them the Diaoyu Islands. That position was shared by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. Telling his Japanese counterpart Nobuo Kishi on Saturday, Austin claimed that the disputed islands were covered by the Security Treaty between the United States and Japan.
Meanwhile, in just three days into the Biden administration, State Department spokesman Ned Price is warning China about its intimidation tactics against Taiwan, after it was reported to have repeatedly dispatched more than a dozen military fighters and bombers through the island’s air defense zone.
“We will stand with friends and allies to promote our security and shared values of prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region, and that includes deepening our ties with Democratic Taiwan,” Price said in a statement. “Our commitment to Taiwan is rock-solid.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken also echoed the same pledge of support, when he told his Philippine counterpart on Wednesday that a Mutual Defense Treaty that obligates the United States to defend the Philippines against any foreign military attack in the Pacific may also apply in the disputed areas of the South China Sea, something the Obama administration did not clearly specify.
These pronouncements from senior US officials are intended to emphasize the fact that the new Biden administration is not reversing course from the firm security stance towards China that it inherited from former President Donald Trump.
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