US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will present a united front over Taiwan, China’s most sensitive territorial issue, at a summit on Friday, according to a senior US administration official.
Biden and Suga are expected to agree on a joint statement on China’s claimed but democratically run island at Biden̵
Biden and Suga will also discuss Beijing’s attitude toward Muslims in the Xinjiang region and its influence on Hong Kong, while announcing a $ 2 billion Japanese investment in 5G telecommunications to counter China’s Huawei Technologies. (HWT.UL)
“You have seen a series of statements from both the United States and Japan on the situation between Taiwan and the Strait, on our desire to maintain peace and stability, to maintain the status quo, and I expect you to see both an official statement and consultations on these. questions, “a senior administration official told reporters.
The last time US and Japanese leaders referred to Taiwan was in a joint statement in 1969, when the Japanese prime minister said that maintaining peace and security in the “Taiwan area” was important for his own security. That was before Tokyo normalized ties with Beijing.
Now the move aims to increase pressure on China. However, such a statement does not appear to be in line with what the United States had hoped to see from Suga, who inherited a Chinese policy that seeks to balance security concerns with deep economic ties when he took office as prime minister last September.
In a statement following a March meeting of US-Japanese defense ministers and foreign ministers, the two countries “stressed the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait” and shared “serious concerns” about human rights in Hong Kong and Xinjiang.
The US official said the summit statement would follow “well” and that the two sides, while reluctant to raise tensions or provoke China, sought to send a clear signal that sending military planes from Beijing into the airspace. of Taiwan is incompatible with peace and stability. Read more
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijiang said on Friday that China had expressed solemn concern over what it called a “secret agreement” between Japan and the United States, and the countries should take China’s concerns seriously.
Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-Wen told emissaries who visited at Biden’s request on Thursday that the island would work with the United States to prevent threats from Chinese military action. Read more
China has never given up using force to bring Taiwan under its control.
A Japanese foreign ministry official said this week that it had not been decided whether there would be a joint statement, and two MPs from Japan’s ruling party, familiar with the discussions, said officials were divided over whether Suga should approve a strong statement on Taiwan. .
The US official said Washington expects “each of our countries has slightly different perspectives” and will not “insist that Japan sign in any way in every dimension of our approach.”
“We also recognize the deep economic and trade ties between Japan and China, and Prime Minister Suga wants to be careful, and we respect that,” he added.
With his first face-to-face summit with Suga and another planned with the South Korean leader in May, Biden is working to direct US military and diplomatic resources to the Indo-Pacific and manage China’s growing global power, which Biden sees as critical. foreign policy issue of the era.
“The big problems that are unfolding are unfolding in the western Pacific, and Afghanistan has indeed been receiving a disproportionate amount of time and focus and attention to top leadership,” the US official said after Biden announced plans to withdraw US forces from Afghanistan until September 11.
Biden hopes to step up joint efforts with Australia, India and Japan, known as the Quad, plus South Korea, to counter both China and North Korea’s longtime enemy. Biden and Suga are expected to announce their plans for the quartet’s next meeting on Friday, the official said.
Presenting a united front will require a delicate balancing act given Japan’s and South Korea’s economic ties with China and the icy relations between Seoul and Tokyo.
“We are concerned, even to the point of being painful, to see relations between Japan and South Korea fall to their current level,” he said.
“The political tension is such that we believe it is actually hampering all our ability to be effective in Northeast Asia, and I think the president will want to discuss this in detail with Prime Minister Suga.”
Relations between Tokyo and Seoul broke down over issues related to the colonization of Korea in Japan in 1910-45, including that of Korean women forced to work in Japanese brothels during the war.
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