Image Credits: Associated Press
US President Joe Biden has sought to present a united front with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to counter China. His motive became clear as he hosted Suga in Washington, in his first face-to-face summit since taking office in January last year. Under the 78-year old’s leadership, the US has stepped up its indulgence in the regional affairs Asia Pacific region. Just last month, US Defense chief Austin Lloyd paid a visit to South Korea, Japan and India and vowed to enhance US-Asia ties as well as retaliate against China’s increasing attempt to alter the status quo in the region.
China held the top spot during the discussions on Friday, underscoring Tokyo’s role in Washington’s efforts to face down Beijing. Additionally, both the leaders also deliberated upon a myriad range of other issues including the coronavirus pandemic and the importance of “peace and stability” of the Taiwan Strait. Both the leaders also discussed the importance of strengthening bilateral cyber and information security and vowed to bolster defence cooperation.
“An ocean separates our countries, but commitments to universal values and common principles, including freedom, democracy, human rights, the rule of law, international law, multilateralism, and a free and fair economic order, unite us,’ White House said in a press release.
Other agendas that summed up their talks included the commitment towards the denuclearization of North Korea, which has a conflicting relationship with both Washington and Tokyo. Meanwhile, taking a swipe at China, both the democratically elected leaders also vowed to invest in fields such as 5G, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, genomics and semiconductor supply chains.
Discussing Chinese related matter further, Biden and Suga expressed concerns about human rights situations in Hong Kong and Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. “The United States and Japan recognized the importance of candid conversations with China, reiterated their intention to share concerns directly, and acknowledged the need to work with China on areas of common interest,” as per a White House release.
“Today prime minister Suga and I affirmed our ironclad support for the US-Japanese alliance and for our shared security,” Biden told a joint news conference in the White House Rose Garden, calling the discussions “productive”. “We committed to working together to take on the challenges from China and on issues like the East China Sea, the South China Sea, as well as North Korea, to ensure a future of a free and open Indo-Pacific,” he added.
I just wrapped up my first in-person bilateral meeting as president with Japanese Prime Minister Suga. Tune in as we hold a joint press conference. https://t.co/0qDrhSod5f— President Biden (@POTUS) April 16, 2021
(Image Credits: Associated Press)