US and Japanese foreign and defence ministers have warned against “coercion and destabilising behaviour” by China and called for “complete denuclearisation” in North Korea during top level talks in Tokyo.
The statements on Tuesday came during Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken first foreign visit during the US administration of President Joe Biden. The officials will also visit South Korea as they look to strengthen regional alliances in the face of rising Chinese influence.
The US officials, Japanese Foreign minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi warned that “China’s behaviour, where inconsistent with the existing international order, presents political, economic, military and technological challenges”.
“The ministers committed to opposing coercion and destabilising behaviour towards others in the region,” they added.
The ministers also shared “serious concerns” over “disruptive developments” such as the law China passed in January allowing its coast guard to fire on foreign vessels.
Motegi said China-related issues took up the majority of his bilateral talks with Blinken and “expressed strong opposition to China’s unilateral attempt to change the status quo in the East and South China Seas”.
Blinken said the US “will push back if necessary when China uses coercion and aggression to get its way”.
The ministers also reiterated their calls for North Korea’s “complete…