13:52 GMT26 November 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has held a phone conversation with projected US President-elect Joe Biden, with the latter having reaffirmed the US commitment to support Japan’s claims to the disputed islands of Senkaku, Japanese media reported on Thursday.

    According to the Kyodo news agency, Suga has also congratulated Biden on his victory in the presidential election, which is disputed by incumbent President Donald Trump.

    ​After their first phone talk, Suga told reporters that he conveyed to Biden his desire to deepen cooperation between the countries in order to realize a "free and open Indo-Pacific" region.

    ​The leaders have also agreed to coordinate efforts on global challenges, such as fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change.

    ​They also agreed that the visit of Suga to the United States would take place as soon as possible. Possible dates of the visit have not been mentioned.

    Both Japan and China have extended territorial claims over the Senkaku Islands (known as the Diaoyu Islands in China). Japan insists on its sovereignty over the islands, effective since 1895, while China points to the 1783 and 1785 Japanese maps designating the islands as Chinese territory.

    After World War II, the Senkaku Islands went under the control of the United States and were later passed to Japan in 1972. Japan believes that China's sovereignty claims over the islands follow the discovery of valuable minerals in their shelf water in the 1970s. The territorial dispute escalated in 2012, when the Japanese government purchased three of the five islands from a private owner, thus establishing Tokyo's sovereign ownership.

    Senkaku Islands, Joe Biden, United States, Japan, Yoshihide Suga
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