President Joe Biden met with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Sugar at the White House on Friday, the first foreign leader to be hosted by the new US administration.
The cordon virus epidemic, climate change, trade, the Tokyo Olympics, North Korea, Xinjiang and Taiwan were discussed as the Biden administration continued to prioritize its foreign policy towards Indo-Pacific and US allies there.
“We are committed to advancing the defense of our values, including human rights and the rule of law,” President Biden told a joint news conference with Sugar after their meeting.
“We are working together to ensure that democracies can still compete and win in the twenty-first century,” Biden said.
At the press conference, Suga said Japan and the United States, in cooperation with Australia, India and the 10 member ASEAN countries, had discussed the free and open Indo-Pacific Ocean to “promote this vision through free efforts.”
“We also had serious discussions about the Indo-Pacific region and China’s influence on world peace and prosperity,” Suga said.
“We have agreed to oppose any attempt to change the status quo by force or coercion in the East and South China Seas,” he said.
“At the same time, we have agreed to engage in open dialogue with China to achieve the stability of international relations while upholding universal values, and thus the necessity.”
Later, at an event hosted by a think tank at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, Suga said Japan would tell China what it needed to say and needed to talk about human rights, but also stressed the need to establish a stable, constructive relationship with Beijing.
“Japan’s core policy on the issue pending with China is to emphasize firmly and urge China to take specific action,” he said. “At the same time, we must work to establish a stable and constructive relationship with China.”
Ahead of the meeting, White House officials hoped Suga would win a change in the composition of speeches on China and Taiwan. The last time U.S. and Japanese leaders mentioned Taiwan in a joint statement was in 1999, when the Japanese prime minister said that maintaining peace and security “in the Taiwan region” was important for his own security. This was before Tokyo normalized relations with Beijing.
The two sides also discussed the situation in Taiwan and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, Suga declined to comment, but added that “there is already a recognition of the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Sea between Japan and the United States. Has been confirmed. “
A senior Biden administration official said Thursday that the United States wanted to send a “clear signal” that Beijing’s recent actions in the vicinity of Taiwan were “against the mission of maintaining peace and stability.” China has sent fighter jets into Taiwan’s airspace in recent days.
Biden and Suga will announce a বিনিয়োগ 2 billion Japanese investment in 5G telecommunications to counter the growing technological power of China’s Huawei Technologies, and discuss Beijing’s treatment of Muslims in the Xinjiang region and its impact on Hong Kong, a Biden administration official said. Meeting.
‘Too many of these lines to handle carefully’
The visit is the first to the United States as prime minister since taking office in September. Suga has inherited a China policy that seeks to balance deep economic ties with China and security concerns related to its close ties with Washington, particularly the disputed islands in the East China Sea.
Jonathan Berkshire Miller, a senior assistant at the Japan Institute of International Affairs, told Al Jazeera that there had been signs of a temporary change in Japanese rhetoric in recent months, and a further political cessation of Japan’s influential business class.
This includes a Statement After a March meeting of U.S.-Japanese defense and foreign ministers who directly named China – which Japan historically did not want to do – and denied Beijing’s “coercive and unstable behavior.”
In a March statement, both sides “emphasized the importance of peace and stability on the Taiwan Strait” and shared “serious concerns” about human rights in Hong Kong and Xinjiang.
Still, at Friday’s meeting, “Japan has a lot of lines to handle carefully,” Miller said, adding that Beijing would keep an eye.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian warned Washington and Tokyo that “words and actions should be avoided that would interfere in China’s internal affairs and harm China’s interests and prevent it from forming a circle against China.”
“China will respond as appropriate,” Zhao told reporters on Friday.
‘Make sure they’re on the same page’
Miller said a major challenge for both Suga and Biden would be creating a vision of strategic competition with China that is “not fully integrated”.
“I think they need to make sure they’re on the same page about this kind of thing,” he said.
A U.S. official who previewed the meeting on Thursday acknowledged that Washington and Tokyo had a “slightly different view” of China, saying the Biden administration would “sign Japan at every level of our approach.”
“We also recognize the deep economic and trade ties between Japan and China and Prime Minister Suga wants to proceed with caution and we respect that,” he added.
A Japanese foreign ministry official said last week that the White House had not decided whether to issue a joint statement on Taiwan.
Lawmakers from the two Japanese ruling parties familiar with the talks told Reuters news agency that officials were divided over whether Sugar should support a strong statement on Taiwan.
Friday’s White House meeting was aimed at strengthening joint efforts between the United States, Australia, India and Japan, known as the Informal Alliance. Quad, That the Beadon administration considers it a huge act against China in the Indo-Pacific region.
The Biden administration official said before the meeting that other expected “deliverables” included a broader, deeper connection across technology, policy, health issues, climate and regional security.