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Suga-Biden statement refers to ‘peace, stability’ across Taiwan Strait


WASHINGTON — At the Japan-U.S. summit meeting in Washington on Friday, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and U.S. President Joe Biden affirmed their commitment to strengthening the Japan-U.S. alliance and emphasized the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, where China has been stepping up military pressure.

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Following the summit meeting at the White House, Japan and the United States released a joint statement.

At a joint press conference, Suga said, “We agreed to oppose any attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion in the East and South China Seas, and intimidation of others in the region,” with regard to China’s hegemonic activities in the region.

“Japan and the United States are two strong democracies in the region, and we’re committed to defending and advancing our shared values, including human rights and the rule of law,” Biden said, expressing his intention to cooperate with Japan on policies relating to China.

Regarding Taiwan, the two leaders said in the joint statement that they “underscore the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and encourage the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues.”

It is the first time the Taiwan issue has been included in a joint statement by Japanese and U.S. leaders since a 1969 meeting between Prime Minister Eisaku Sato and U.S. President Richard Nixon, and the first time since Japan and the United States normalized their diplomatic relations with China in the 1970s and broke off relations with Taiwan.

The document also states that the two countries “share serious concerns regarding the human rights situations in Hong Kong and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.”

Suga stressed the significance of the statement, titled “Global Partnership for a New Era,” saying, “It will serve as a guiding post for our alliance in the times ahead.”

Tokyo and Washington will begin full-fledged talks on further strengthening their alliance aiming to counter China.

“I conveyed my resolve to reinforce Japan’s defense capabilities [at the summit meeting],” Suga said. “We also agree to accelerate the review underway between our two countries on the specific means to strengthen our alliance.”

At the talks, Biden clearly said that Article 5 of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, which stipulates U.S. defense obligations to Japan, applies to the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture.

Regarding North Korea, Suga and Biden reaffirmed their commitment to urge an immediate halt to Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile development programs and call for a resolution of the issue of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea.

The two leaders also discussed the growing number of incidents of discrimination and violence against Asians in the United States.

“We agreed that discrimination by race cannot be permitted in any societies,” Suga said. “President Biden’s comments that discrimination and violence cannot be allowed and that he firmly opposes [such actions] were extremely encouraging.”

Suga and Biden also announced agreements on economic cooperation and climate change.

In the economic field, the two countries will cooperate in developing and protecting supply chains with the aim of reducing dependence on China for semiconductors and other products.

At the talks, Suga invited Biden to Japan at an early stage.

The two leaders held a one-on-one meeting, followed by a small group meeting and an expanded meeting, lasting about 2½ hours.

Participants in the latter meeting included, on the U.S. side, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, and on the Japanese side, Manabu Sakai, deputy chief Cabinet secretary, and Shigeru Kitamura, secretary general of the National Security Secretariat.

 

Published : April 18, 2021

By : The Japan News / ANN