Biden Hosts Japan’s Kishida for Crucial Talks as China Tensions Rise

Biden Hosts Japan’s Kishida for Crucial Talks as China Tensions Rise
U.S. President Joe Biden (R) and Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at the South Portico of the White House on April 9, 2024. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON—Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida arrived in Washington on April 8 for a multi-day visit that is expected to strengthen the U.S.-Japan alliance amid the growing aggression from communist China.

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will first welcome Mr. Kishida and his wife to the White House on the eve of April 9 ahead of the official visit and a formal state dinner. The Japanese leader will be the fifth foreign leader honored by President Biden with a state banquet since he took office in 2021.

Following the official arrival ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House on April 10, both leaders will hold a bilateral meeting followed by a joint press conference.

According to the White House, both leaders are expected to discuss various topics during their meeting, ranging from diplomatic and economic issues to global and regional security concerns.

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said during a press briefing on April 9 that the two leaders will discuss deepening the partnership on matters such as space technology, economic investment, coordinating global diplomacy, and fighting climate change.

“They will announce measures to enhance our defense and security cooperation to enable greater coordination and integration of our forces,” he said. “There will be major deliverables on space as we lead the way on space exploration and returning to the moon.”

In addition, both countries will announce research partnerships on critical and emerging technologies such as AI, quantum semiconductors, and clean energy.

Mr. Kishida will remain in Washington to partake in a trilateral summit with Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. on April 11.

With this first-ever trilateral meeting between the three leaders, Mr. Sullivan said the United States seeks to ensure “a free, open, and prosperous Indo-Pacific.”

Mr. Marcos’s visit to Washington and the trilateral summit come at a time when Beijing is increasing its pressure on the Philippines in the disputed waters of the South China Sea. The three leaders are expected to discuss the Chinese regime’s growing provocative actions in the region.

“The United States, Japan, and the Philippines are three closely aligned maritime democracies with increasingly convergent strategic objectives, interests, and, frankly, concerns in areas like the South China Sea,” White House national security communications adviser John Kirby told reporters during a call on April 8.

He added that the leaders will launch new initiatives during the trilateral summit.

‘Maintaining Peace and Stability’

“Cooperation among our three countries is extremely important in maintaining peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific and in defending a free and open international order based on the rules of law,” Mr. Kishida said on April 8 before leaving for Washington.

Chinese coast guard ships also frequently approach the disputed Japanese-controlled East China Sea islands near Taiwan.

U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel criticized China for escalating tensions in the region. He spoke at an event the Center for Strategic and International Studies held on April 8 and stated that Beijing employs coercion and pressure on countries, including Japan and the Philippines.

The trilateral meeting also comes after Japan and the Philippines joined the United States and Australia in their first joint naval exercise within the Philippines’s exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea on April 7, the same territory in which Beijing has clashed with Manila over territorial control. The training focused on anti-submarine warfare, as well as communication activities and officer of the watch maneuvers set to improve the four nations’ interoperability.

The United States and Japan have shown signs of growing cooperation in recent weeks, as both countries co-sponsored a United Nations resolution calling for a ban on the deployment and development of nuclear weapons in space. The NATO alliance extended an invitation to Mr. Kishida to attend the 75th anniversary summit in Washington in July. Japan is not a member of the alliance. The United States and Japan are also expected to convene a trilateral discussion with South Korea during that summit.

But most recently, Japan has been expected to become a partner of the AUKUS, a trilateral security pact among Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, which attempts to counter the Chinese regime’s growing aggression.

The three AUKUS defense secretaries—U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, UK Defense Minister Grant Shapps, and Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles—announced the cooperation in a joint statement on April 8.

The defense secretaries stated that they would consider including Japan in “Pillar II” of the pact, which aims to enhance technological collaboration and interoperability among the armed forces of member countries.

That includes the development of ​​artificial intelligence, hypersonic weapons, and radar technologies.

“Our objective remains to further the delivery of advanced military capabilities to our respective defense forces in support of regional stability and security; we are confident that engaging like-minded partners in the work of Pillar II will only strengthen this pursuit,” the statement reads.

“Recognizing Japan’s strengths and its close bilateral defense partnerships with all three countries, we are considering cooperation with Japan on AUKUS Pillar II advanced capability projects.”

Mr. Kishida’s visit comes after President Biden opposed selling U.S. Steel to the Japanese company Nippon Steel Corp.

In a March statement, President Biden said, “U.S. Steel has been an iconic American steel company for more than a century, and it is vital for it to remain an American steel company that is domestically owned and operated.”

“He’s been very clear that he’s going to stand up for American workers. He’s going to defend their interests,” Mr. Sullivan said. “He’s also been very clear that he is going to make sure that the US-Japan alliance is the strongest it’s ever been.”

From The Epoch Times

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