Japan will remain vigilant against what it views as China's hegemonic ambitions despite Tuesday's meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping that focused largely on managing the two powers' rivalry, government officials in Tokyo have said.

The Japanese government said it welcomed the dialogue between the United States and China. But at the same time, Tokyo plans to continue to pursue a "Free and Open Indo-Pacific" region while bolstering its defense capabilities.

At a news conference on Tuesday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno, the government's top spokesman, stressed that stable relations between the U.S. and China "are very important."

"We'll continue to cooperate with the United States in various fields, and call on China to fulfill its responsibility as a great power," Matsuno said.

However, a senior Foreign Ministry official said that the virtual meeting "will not change anything," since it was widely believed to have been chiefly intended to stave off the possibility of unexpected conflict erupting between the two powers.

The meeting highlighted differences between the two leaders' stances on the Taiwan Strait situation. Biden also raised human rights issues in Hong Kong and China's treatment of Uyghur Muslims in its far-west Xinjiang region, which remain flash points between the two nations.

"Tensions in the region will not ease," a Japanese government source said.

In fact, China has been taking provocative actions around the Japanese-administered Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. Beijing also claims the uninhabited islets and calls them the Diaoyu.

Another senior Foreign Ministry official said the moves required Japan to keep its guard up.

"Japan must maintain a minimum possible presence on both the military and economic fronts," the official said.

Having China in mind, the administration led by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is expected to review Japan's National Security Strategy and take a number of other steps to bolster the country's defense capabilities.

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