Biden talks with Japan to focus on security in Asia-Pacific

Jan 21, 2022: US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will discuss a “united” Western alliance against deterrence in the Asia-Pacific region and Russia’s threats to Ukraine in a virtual meeting on Friday, officials said.

Since taking office exactly one year ago, Biden has sought to restore the importance of US-Japan relations, with Donald Trump questioning the benefits of US relations with several major allies in both Asia and Europe.

Biden and Fumio Kishida will discuss economic ties as well as security and a “free and open Indo-Pacific”, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said. The aim is to maintain a US-led status quo in the Asia-Pacific region, despite rapidly expanding Chinese military and commercial power, including along crucial sea trade routes.

The virtual meeting will be the first substantial discussion between the two allies since Fumio Kishida became Japanese prime minister in October.

The leaders of the United States and Japan will discuss plans to confront China’s growing power, North Korea’s missiles and Russia’s objectives in Ukraine when they hold their first major talks since Fumio Kishida became Japanese prime minister in October.

The online meeting between US President Joe Biden and Kashida, scheduled for Friday in Washington, will be based on the so-called “two-plus-two” talks this month when their defense and foreign ministers sought to maintain a united stance in the Indo-pacific region.

The two leaders will be discussing climate change, Covid-19, and cybersecurity, in addition to a focus on maintaining “a strong rules based order” — language that typically means pushing back on China.

Noting the growing tensions surrounding the formation of a large military force by Russia on the Ukrainian border, the US official said Biden and Kishida would discuss a “strong, united response” to Ukraine. If the Russian military invades Ukraine, Washington is seeking the cooperation of European and other allies for “tough” economic sanctions against Moscow.

Meanwhile, Japan has approved record defense spending for 2022 and will strengthen its defense of islands near Taiwan, Kishida said after promising to review its security strategy in October.

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