01:16 GMT02 December 2020
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    TOKYO (Sputnik) - Japan considers the relations with the United States the cornerstone of its foreign political priorities, but is also determined to continue developing the ties with other Asian nations, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Wednesday.

    "The union of Japan and the United States is the pivot of our country's foreign policy to ensure its security. We will develop relations with the United States in a wide range of areas, starting with the situation around North Korea and in the region as a whole," Suga said in an address to parliament.

    The prime minister asserted Japan's commitment to cooperate with "those countries which share our mindset, primarily the ASEAN countries" and "decisively advance measures to achieve a free and open Indian and Pacific ocean."

    Suga separately mentioned the relations with China, with which Japan has had many ups and downs recently, particularly with regard to conflicting maritime and territorial claims.

    "Stable relations with China are important not only for our two countries but also for the region and the entire world community. We will defend what needs to be defended, but we will also closely interact on issues where our opinions coincide," the Japanese prime minister said.

    Tokyo and Beijing have both extended territorial claims over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. Japan insists on its sovereignty over the islands having been effective since 1895, while China points to the 1783 and 1785 Japanese maps designating the islands as Chinese territory.

    foreign policy, Yoshihide Suga, US, Japan
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