U.S., JAPAN FIRM UP ALLIANCE VS CHINA, DEFENSE OF TAIWAN
US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Friday agreed to further their cooperation across regional security, technology, and other areas, committing to an alliance that will face up to the challenges posed by China, Miya Tanaka reported for Kyodo News.
In their first in-person meeting during the Biden presidency, the two affirmed the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, Suga said at a press conference with Biden, a reference that is certain to upset Beijing that views the self-ruled island as its most sensitive territorial issue.
Biden restated the US’s "unwavering" support for Japan's defense under their security treaty, including through nuclear capabilities, while also stipulating the US commitment to defending the Japanese-administered Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, which are claimed by Beijing.
"Together, we oppose any unilateral action that seeks to undermine Japan's administration of the Senkaku Islands," the two leaders said in the statement.
On Taiwan, the two said they "underscore the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and encourage the peaceful resolution of cross-strait issues."
Their view was mentioned in a joint statement issued after the summit, in what can be seen as a rare public expression of leader-level concern on the situation regarding Taiwan, with the last such reference dating back to 1969.
As the United States seeks to enlist allies and like-minded countries to counter China's heightened economic and military assertiveness, Suga became the first foreign leader invited to the White House for talks with Biden since he took office in January. The Biden-Suga meeting also saw new announcements on a series of alliance-building moves.
The US and Japanese governments have been working to strengthen technology supply chains independent of China during a shortage of semiconductors worrying businesses around the world, the Associated Press (AP) also reported. Both countries are expected in coming days to make deeper commitments to cutting climate-wrecking fossil fuel emissions, in line with Biden's climate summit with 40 world leaders next week, Mainichi Daily stressed n another report.