Leaders of the United States and Japan have emphasised their commitment to countering challenges from China and ensuring a peaceful, free, and open Indo-Pacific region after their first in-person meeting on Friday.
Concerns have been growing over China’s assertiveness in disputed waterways.
“We agreed to oppose any attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion in the East and South China Seas, and intimidation of others in the region,” Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said, speaking through a translator.
China claims nearly all of the South China Sea, provoking friction with other nations in the region.
The sea is also claimed in part by Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, and Taiwan.
“We committed to working together to take on the challenges from China,” U.S. President Joe Biden said.
Biden also emphasised that the U.S. alliance with Japan and support for shared security is “ironclad.”
The U.S., a nuclear-armed nation, is a protective power for Japan.
Thousands of U.S. soldiers are also stationed in Japan.
Suga said the U.S. and Japan reaffirmed the significance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.
China considers self-ruled Taiwan part of its territory.
The two leaders also said they intended to work with South Korea to counter the challenge posed by North Korea’s nuclear programme.
The Japanese premier’s trip to Washington marked the first visit of a foreign head of state or government to the White House since Biden came into office in January.