Biden, Kishida agree to increase security, economic cooperation amid growing concerns According to Reuters


© Reuters. Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida attends a virtual meeting with US President Joe Biden at his official residence in Tokyo, Japan January 21, 2022, in this photo released by the Japanese Cabinet Office of Public Relations Version through Kyodo published. Japan’s cabinet tavern


By David Brunnstrom, Kiyoshi Takenaka and Michael Martina

WASHINGTON/TOKYO (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida agreed in a virtual meeting on Friday to strengthen cooperation on pressing economic and security issues, including China. China, North Korean missiles and Russia’s threat to Ukraine.

The virtual meeting, their first major talks since Kishida became Japan’s prime minister in October, follows “two plus two” discussions this month in which defense ministers and Diplomats from longtime allies expressed strong concern about China’s growing power and vowed to respond if necessary to destabilize operations in the Indo-Pacific.

Kishida said he and Biden have agreed to work together to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific, to work closely on China and North Korea’s missile issue, and to work together on the issue. Ukraine.

He also said Japan will host a Quad Group meeting of the United States, Japan, Australia and India in the first half of this year with Biden’s visit.

Biden accepted the invitation and indicated his intention to visit later in the spring, a senior US administration official said, adding that one of the goals of the Quad meeting was to review progress. commitment to provide one billion doses of a COVID-19 vaccine to the Southeast. Asia through the end of 2022

Kishida said he and Biden also agreed to form a “two plus two” version of the ministerial economy to promote economic cooperation. This will focus on supply chains, technology investments, standard setting and export controls, the US official said.

“We agreed to work together to promote cooperation among like-minded countries to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Mr. Kishida told reporters. “We agreed to work closely on China-related issues, including the East and South China Seas, Hong Kong, and Xinjiang Autonomous Region, as well as North Korea’s nuclear and missile issues,” he said. Fairy.”

Kishida said he and Biden would work closely to prevent a Russian invasion of Ukraine and “stay in close touch with other allies and partners and continue to communicate with the view that any attack on Ukraine will continue.” Every public company will be faced with strong action.” “honored to meet Prime Minister Kishida to further strengthen the US-Japan Alliance – the cornerstone of peace and security in the Indo-Pacific and around the world.”

A White House statement said Biden welcomed Kishida’s decision to increase defense spending and “emphasized the importance of maintaining these critical investments over time.”

The two sides emphasized the importance of enhancing cyber security and were determined to “repel” China’s efforts to change the status quo in the East and South China Seas.

The US official told reporters that US-Japan solidarity was “fully displayed” during the virtual session that lasted about 90 minutes.

The two had a “very in-depth discussion” about China, sharing concerns about the country’s threats to its neighbors and “predatory” steps in trade and other areas, he said. added that Kishida is particularly concerned about China’s nuclear buildup.

The White House said the leaders condemned the recent ballistic missile launches by North Korea, and the US official said Mr Biden had made it clear that Washington would work closely with Japan and South Korea to prevent it. provocations may follow.”

North Korea fired a tactical guided missile in the latest series of launches this week and warned on Thursday that the country may reconsider its moratorium on nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests. (ICBM).

The US official said Biden and Kishida had a “vigorous” discussion about the need for the United States to play an active role in trade and the trade architecture in Asia.

The Biden administration has been criticized for lacking a solid economic pillar for its strategy towards Asia after US President Donald Trump abandoned the regional trade framework now known as the CPTPP in 2017, but they have been wary of going back to the pact that critics say threatens American jobs.

Washington aims to establish “common goals” for economic cooperation with Indo-Pacific countries by early 2022, a senior US policy official on China said on Wednesday. .

The Chinese Embassy in Japan on Saturday released a statement, which said that Biden and Kishida’s video conference carried out “baseless attacks” on China and “brutal interference”. ” into the country’s internal affairs, adding that it has put in place strict representations.

“We call on Japan and the US to follow the trend of the times, abandon the narrow policies of zero-sum games and beggar-neighbors, stop meddling in China’s internal affairs, and stop drawing out small circles based on ideology.

Friday’s summit comes after other security-related meetings attended by Indo-Pacific leaders – two-plus-two talks between Japan and France on Thursday and between the Australian and British foreign and defense ministers on Friday.

Last year, Biden hosted the Quad’s first face-to-face summit, at which leaders vowed to pursue a free and open Indo-Pacific “without coercion.”

China has stepped up military and diplomatic pressure to assert its sovereignty over Taiwan, which it claims.

Kishida said this week Japan would strengthen its defenses of islands near Taiwan, following an October promise to revise its security strategy to consider “all options, including possession of so-called ability to attack the enemy.”

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