Japan, US pledge to strengthen alliance

Japan's Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide and the new head of the US Indo-Pacific Command have confirmed that the two countries will further strengthen their alliance for peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

Suga held talks with Admiral John Aquilino for about 10 minutes in Tokyo on Tuesday. The commander is visiting Japan for the first time since he assumed the post on April 30.

Suga said the US Indo-Pacific Command plays a very important role, and that its contributions are highly valued.

He also said he built a trustful relationship with President Joe Biden when he visited Washington in April, and that they agreed to step up the Japan-US alliance.

The prime minister told the commander that Japan hopes to work with the US to realize a "Free and Open Indo-Pacific."

Aquilino responded, "The US-Japan alliance is the cornerstone of the peace and security that exists in the Pacific today."

Suga and Aquilino also confirmed the two countries' strong opposition to China's unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the East China Sea.

They also agreed to closely work together on North Korean issues.