Monday, September 20, 2021

in-focus

Biden prioritizing allies leaves Japan hopeful


Senior government officials in Tokyo have expressed some hope for Joe Biden who emphasized the importance of U.S. allies in his presidential nomination acceptance speech during the Democratic National Convention on Thursday.

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However, as there is still a lingering uncertainty regarding how Biden will deal with China, the Japanese government continues to monitor the situation to see if the Japan-U.S. alliance and policies toward China will be impacted.

“I will be a president who will stand with our allies and friends,” Biden said in his speech on Thursday.

“It’s good that he clearly stated the importance of maintaining alliances,” said a senior Foreign Ministry official in Tokyo. “He probably wanted to differentiate himself from the Trump administration, which is committed to its ‘America First’ policy.”

 

Biden, however, did not specifically discuss his policy toward China in the speech. Instead, he stressed his commitment to tackling climate change.

The Obama administration, under which Biden served as vice president, prioritized cooperation with Beijing on tackling climate change and other issues, and as a result, it took a soft stance toward China-related policies, such as countering its maritime expansion, compared to the Trump administration.

The current administration has shown a conspicuous disregard toward its allies by calling to reduce the number of U.S. troops stationed overseas, as well as other moves. However, on the other hand, the administration has taken a clear position against China’s military buildup, reassuring Japan.

There are concerns within the Japanese government that if Biden wins the November presidential election, his administration could once again take a weak stance on security to deter China.

“I’m concerned about how strong Biden’s security policies will be against China,” said a senior government official.

The 2020 Democratic Party Platform, which was adopted on Tuesday, stipulated that “the United States will work to strengthen ties with and between our key allies in the region, including Japan, South Korea, and Australia.” However, making climate change a top priority, it also clearly stated, “America must approach our relationship with China with confidence ... while also pursuing cooperation on issues of mutual interest like climate change.”

Published : August 23, 2020

By : The Yomiuri Shimbun