U.S. President Donald Trump during his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday said that Washington is committed to defend Tokyo ‘through the full range of U.S. military capabilities, both nuclear and conventional’, a stand that contradicts his campaign rhetoric that accused Japan of taking advantage of U.S. security aid and stealing American jobs. “The unshakable U.S.-Japan Alliance is the cornerstone of peace, prosperity, and freedom in the Asia-Pacific region. The U.S. commitment to defend Japan through the full range of U.S. military capabilities, both nuclear and conventional, is unwavering,” said a joint statement issued by the White House after the meeting of the two leaders.
The statement said that amid an increasingly difficult security environment in the Asia-Pacific region, the United States will strengthen its presence in the region, and Japan will assume larger roles and responsibilities in the alliance. “The two leaders affirmed the commitment of the United States and Japan to the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan, to ensure the long-term, sustainable presence of U.S. forces. They affirmed that the United States and Japan are committed to the plan to construct the Futenma Replacement Facility at the Camp Schwab/Henoko area and in adjacent waters. It is the only solution that avoids the continued use of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma,” it said.
The two leaders also affirmed that Article V of the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security covers the Senkaku Islands, a group of uninhabited islands controlled by Japan and also claimed by China. The statement said that the U.S. opposes any unilateral action that seeks to undermine Japan’s administration of these islands. According to the statement, the two leaders also underscored the importance of maintaining a maritime order based on international law, including freedom of navigation and overflight and other lawful uses of the sea.
“The United States and Japan oppose any attempt to assert maritime claims through the use of intimidation, coercion or force. The United States and Japan also call on countries concerned to avoid actions that would escalate tensions in the South China Sea, including the militarization of outposts, and to act in accordance with international law,” said the statement. They also urged North Korea to abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile programs and not to take any further provocative actions, according to the statement.