US lawmakers affirm Japan alliance eyeing China, North Korea

Apr 15, 2022, 9:55 PM | Updated: Apr 16, 2022, 8:58 am
FILE - Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks during a news conference at the prime minister's...

FILE - Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks during a news conference at the prime minister's official residence on April 8, 2022. Kishida and visiting U.S. lawmakers reaffirmed their commitment to working together under a longstanding bilateral alliance on Saturday, April 16, amid heightened global tensions spanning the war in Ukraine to threats from neighboring China and North Korea. (Rodrigo Reyes Marin/Pool Photo via AP, File)

(Rodrigo Reyes Marin/Pool Photo via AP, File)

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and visiting U.S. lawmakers reaffirmed their commitment to working together under a longstanding bilateral alliance on Saturday at a time of heightened global tensions including threats from China and North Korea.

In a meeting over breakfast, the delegation, led by Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, agreed with Kishida on the importance of maintaining a “free and open Indo-Pacific region,” according to the Foreign Ministry.

The six lawmakers’ visit follows their earlier stop in Taiwan, where they made a pointed and public declaration of their support for the self-governing island democracy, while issuing a warning to China. They met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Friday.

China carried out military drills near Taiwan in protest of the delegation’s visit. Spokesperson Zhao Lijian said China was prepared “to take strong measures to resolutely safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Japan has long been nervous about China’s possible invasion of Taiwan, which Beijing claims as part of its territory to be united by force if necessary. China and Taiwan split after a civil war in 1949.

Concerns in Tokyo, especially among conservative politicians seeking a more assertive role for their military, have heightened since the war in Ukraine. The question is sensitive because Japan’s pacifist constitution, adopted after its defeat in World War II, bans the use of force in international disputes. Japan keeps its overseas military operations to peacekeeping and humanitarian relief.

Officially, Japan does not recognize Taiwan but they maintain friendly relations. China opposes any official official exchanges between Taiwan and other foreign governments.

The issue of whether the U.S. would intervene in the case of China’s attack on Taiwan remains open. Analysts say Japan’s role in such a hypothetical situation is even more unclear because Japan is host to a huge U.S. military presence under the alliance.

Kishida told the representatives from Congress that the bilateral alliance superseded political party divisions, and sought their understanding on Japan’s role in working toward peace and prosperity in the region. Tokyo also asked for U.S. support for ongoing efforts by Japan to bring home Japanese who were abducted by North Korea decades ago, the ministry said. North Korea returned some of the abducted people in 2004.

The U.S. delegation also includes Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey, Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Rep. Ronny Jackson of Texas.

___

Associated Press Writer Huizhong Wu in Taipei, Taiwan contributed to this report.

Wu is on Twitter https://twitter.com/huizhong_wu

Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Workers wearing protective gear direct arriving passengers to quarantine hotels in the Hong Kong In...
Associated Press

Hong Kong lifts flight ban citing ‘little effect’ on COVID

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong announced Thursday it is shelving a COVID-19 measure that has resulted in dozens of canceled flights in recent months and thwarted travel plans for thousands. Starting Thursday, the city will no longer ban arriving airline flights just because they’d brought in passengers infected with COVID-19, the government announced. “The […]
1 day ago
FILE - Lawyer Bernard Collaery, left, addresses the media as lawmaker Andrew Wilkie, right, looks o...
Associated Press

Australia drops charge against lawyer over spying claim

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia’s new government on Thursday dropped the 4-year-old prosecution of a lawyer over his alleged attempt to help East Timor prove that Australia had spied on the then-fledgling nation’s government in 2004 during multibillion-dollar oil and gas negotiations. Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus maintained the longstanding government stance of refusing to confirm or […]
1 day ago
FILE - Britain's Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis arrives at 10 Downing Street, to attend a...
Associated Press

UK’s Johnson defiant even as opponents tell him time is up

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has rejected clamors for his resignation from his Cabinet and across the Conservative Party, digging in his heels Thursday even as dozens of officials quit and previously loyal allies urged him to go after yet another scandal engulfed his leadership. A group of Johnson’s most trusted Cabinet […]
1 day ago
Painter Hassan Naderali greets a resident as he paints an old building in the historic neighborhood...
Associated Press

Iran’s outdoor painters seek to capture, preserve old Tehran

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Tehran residents accustomed to seething at slow-moving traffic, sweltering in summer heat and suffocating in smog may be surprised to find a growing number of outdoor painters reveling in the Iranian capital’s historic charm. The overcrowded metropolis may be dusty and in need of beautification, but the honeycomb of alleyways that […]
1 day ago
Currency traders watch monitors at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquart...
Associated Press

Asian stocks higher after Fed says rate hikes may be needed

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets gained Thursday after the Federal Reserve said higher U.S. interest rates might be needed to cool inflation. Shanghai, Tokyo and Sydney advanced. Hong Kong declined. Oil prices edged higher after falling below $100 per barrel this week. Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index gained 0.4% on Wednesday after notes […]
1 day ago
A girl reaches out from a window of her home built on squatted land that is occupied by hundreds of...
Associated Press

Inflation pushed 71M people into poverty since Ukraine war

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A staggering 71 million more people around the world are experiencing poverty as a result of soaring food and energy prices that climbed in the weeks following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the United Nations Development Program said in a report Thursday. The UNDP estimates that 51.6 million more people […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?
...
Christina O’Haver

BE FAST to spot a stroke

Every 40 seconds—that’s how often someone has a stroke in the United States. It’s the fifth leading cause of death among Americans, with someone dying of a stroke every 3.5 minutes.
US lawmakers affirm Japan alliance eyeing China, North Korea