Suga, Biden speak after Japan-US summit

Biden Meets Japan's Leader to Boost China-facing Alliances

Biden Meets Japan's Leader to Boost China-facing Alliances

But it is China that is expected to be one of the biggest focuses.

Suga said he was grateful for the meeting and reaffirmed the "new and tight bond" between Japan and the United States.

The two leaders are likely to announce the next in-person Quad (India, the U.S., Japan and Australia) meeting, according to a senior administration official.

What else did Biden, Suga say on East Asia?

"President Biden once again expressed his support for this determination", Suga said.

Mr Suga and Mr Biden are also expected to discuss regional security including North Korea, China and China-Taiwan issues.

Suga expressed eagerness to meet with Biden early on despite global COVID-19 lockdowns.

In addition to Suga's meetings with Biden and other officials, he also met one-on-one with Vice President Harris earlier in the day.

President Joe Biden listens as Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga speaks in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington on Friday.

During the joint press conference, Biden was asked about whether he would reprioritize action on guns after yet another mass shooting in Indianapolis, just a few weeks after shootings in Atlanta and Boulder, Colo. "Innocent citizens must not be exposed to any such violence", he said. The Biden administration is still reviewing that policy and has not yet made clear whether it will keep the bans in place. Japan is expected to announce an investment in 5G cellular networks, boosting alternatives to China's network, as part of that supply chain cooperation.

Biden Meets Japan's Leader to Boost China-facing Alliances

A joint statement after the summit referred to the "importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait", Jiji news agency reported - the first such reference to the issue in a statement by leaders of the two countries since 1969.

USA and Chinese naval movements in the Taiwan Strait and South China Sea, which China claims virtually in its entirety, have added to tensions in recent days, following statements from US officials that Beijing may be accelerating its schedule to annex Taiwan by force.

Japan long has moved cautiously on steps that might worsen relations with China, though Suga has been more outspoken. That came during a visit last month by Secretary of State Tony Blinken and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin, which was the Biden administration's highest-level face-to-face meeting at the time.

Suga echoed Biden's themes as he described the US-Japan alliance as the "foundation of peace and stability" in the region.

Japan's economy is intertwined with China's.

Japan considers China's growing military activity as well as its broad territorial claims to be a security threat. Japan is itself locked in a dispute with China over Beijing's claim to the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands, called Diaoyu in China, in the East China Sea.

"Neither country is seeking to raise tensions or to provoke China", the official said.

The president is determined to successfully pull off the foreign policy initiative that his former boss, President Obama, could not - to engineer a "pivot" from the Middle East, where the USA has been bogged down militarily for two decades, to pay more attention to the vital Indo-Pacific region.

"I think we were able to establish a good relationship of trust", he added. Earlier this week, the White House said Biden had yet to make a decision on whether to send USA athletes to compete.

Knickmeyer reported from Oklahoma City and Yamaguchi from Tokyo.

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