News / Asia

    Biden, Abe Agree to Strengthen US-Japan Alliance

    U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (L) gestures tells Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that Japan is the United States' strongest security partner in the region during their bilateral meeting in Singapore, July 26, 2013.
    U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (L) gestures tells Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that Japan is the United States' strongest security partner in the region during their bilateral meeting in Singapore, July 26, 2013.
    VOA News
    U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Japanese prime Minister Shinzo Abe have agreed to strengthen their nations' alliance amid growing tensions between Japan and China over a group of islands in the East China Sea.

    The islands, known as Senkaku in Japan and as Diaoyu in China, are under Tokyo's control but also claimed by China.  At a meeting in Singapore, Friday, Biden highlighted the U.S. view that all sides should take steps to reduce tensions. He also reaffirmed the U.S. position on the East China Sea, including its alliance commitments to Japan.

    Abe explained his government security policy, including its review of national defense guidelines.

    Japan's defense ministry issued a report Friday calling for stronger armed forces to deter increasing threats from China and North Korea. The report said that Japan should increase its surveillance capability and consider using drones or unmanned surveillance vehicles that would be operational at all times to monitor activities in the Pacific.   

    The paper also calls for the creation of an amphibious marine force to defend disputed islands, including the ability to attack foreign bases.

    The Japanese prime minister told an academic audience in Singapore that Japan and china should hold high-level talks as soon as possible to resolve the dispute.

    "I am of the opinion that there should be a leaders' summit meeting or a meeting between foreign ministers [of Japan and China] as soon as possible and for this there should be no preconditions," he said.

    Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
    x
    Click to enlarge
    Click to enlarge
    The Senkaku are located west of Okinawa in rich fishing waters, while the sea floor around them is believed to hold rich oil and gas reserves.

    Japan also has a long-standing dispute with Russia over a group of islands that Russia occupied during World War Two and never left. North Korea has been a security threat for decades as its test-launched missiles often fall into Japanese waters.

    After World War II, occupied Japan had to dismantle its military and adopt a constitution that allows the use of arms only in case of an attack on its territory. The so-called Self Defense Forces have been strengthened over the years along with the growth of Japan's economic power.

    Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera on Friday introduced the plan for a more assertive force to reporters in Tokyo.

    "The report covers comprehensive capability enhancements including warning and surveillance capabilities, amphibious functions, integrated transport, anti-ballistic missile response and capability, and based on these, it guides the focus of the direction that the Self Defense Forces should be taking as they move forward," he said.

    Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

    You May Like

    Video Pop Icon Prince Quietly Helped Afghan Orphans for Years

    He sent thousands of dollars to help an aid group rebuild a training center for orphan boy and girl scouts in Kabul, but kept his involvement secret

    Mali, a Way Station for Syrians Headed to Europe

    Another door may be closing for Syrians fleeing the conflict in their country, this time in Africa

    Britain’s Muslims See London Mayor Race as Victory

    Mere running of 45-year-old former government minister and son of Pakistani immigrants Sadiq Khan seen by many as turning point

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Donations Rescue Afghan Parents, Children From Forced Labori
    X
    May 05, 2016 6:44 PM
    A Facebook campaign organized by a VOA radio host raised 150,000 Afghan rupees to rescue a family from forced labor at a brick kiln in Nangarhar province – the result of the father’s unpaid debt. Video by a VOA reporter in Jalalabad went viral this week and triggered the Facebook campaign.
    Video

    Video Donations Rescue Afghan Parents, Children From Forced Labor

    A Facebook campaign organized by a VOA radio host raised 150,000 Afghan rupees to rescue a family from forced labor at a brick kiln in Nangarhar province – the result of the father’s unpaid debt. Video by a VOA reporter in Jalalabad went viral this week and triggered the Facebook campaign.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Troops Recount Firefight Which Killed US Navy SEAL

    A U.S. Navy SEAL killed Tuesday, when Islamic State fighters punched through Kurdish lines in northern Iraq, was part of a quick reaction force sent to extract other U.S. troops trapped by the surprise offensive. VOA's Kawa Omar spoke with Kurdish troops in the town of Telskuf -- the scene of what U.S. officials called a "dynamic firefight."
    Video

    Video British Lawmakers Warn EU Exit Talks Could Last A Decade

    Leaving the European Union would mean difficult negotiations that could take years to complete, according to a bipartisan group of British lawmakers. While the group did not recommend a vote either way, the lawmakers noted trade deals between the EU and non-EU states take between four and nine years on average. Henry Ridgwell reports on the mounting debate over whether Britain should stay or exit the EU as the June vote approaches.
    Video

    Video NASA Astronauts Train for Commercial Space Flights

    Since the last Shuttle flight in 2011, the United States has been relying on Russian rockets to launch fresh crews to the International Space Station. But that may change in the next few years. NASA and several private space companies are developing advanced capsules capable of taking humans into low orbit and beyond. As VOA's George Putic reports, astronauts are already training for commercial spacecraft in flight simulators.
    Video

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    The White House is expressing concern about rising political chaos in Iraq and the impact it could have on the fight against the Islamic State. The U.S. says Iraq needs a stable, central government to help push back the group. But some say Baghdad may not have a unified government any time soon. VOA's White House correspondent Mary Alice Salinas reports.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora