Joe Biden Welcomes Japanese Prime Minister to The White House

On Friday, President Joe Biden had his first-ever face-to-face meeting with a foreign leader since assuming office. The White House welcomed Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and the leaders had a “productive” meeting that discussed their many shared interests. The meeting’s agenda included issues such as China’s involvement in the Taiwan strait, the coronavirus pandemic, Indo-Pacific security, climate change, the rise of Anti-Asian violence in the United States, and the Tokyo Olympics. Both leaders reaffirmed their commitment to stand as allies against the shared economic and military threat from China.

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Biden’s administration sees Japan as a strategic ally in China’s human rights violations and trade practices – issues which the U.S plans to tackle head-on. Suga and Biden discussed how to manage the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait. Taiwan is a self-governed island that Beijing believes is part of Chinese territory. China has been sending warplanes into the area to pressure the island. The U.S does not want to provoke China but wishes to send a message about its stance on human rights and world peace. In the past, Japan has condemned China’s stifling of Human Rights in Hong Kong, but it also cannot afford to lose China as a trading partner.

The leaders discussed violence directed at Asian people in the United States. Suga seemed reassured of Biden’s stance on the issue and said that the President’s comments “renewed my confidence in American democracy once again.”

The symbolic importance of The Tokyo Olympics which are to be hosted by Japan on July 23 was also on the agenda of the meeting. Suga assured Biden that Japan intended to uphold the games as “a symbol of global unity”. However, the country would restrict the entry of tourists and institute Covid-19 appropriate measures to prevent outbreaks and check the spread of infection.