Yoshihide Suga became the first foreign leader to be received at the White House since Biden took office.
On Friday, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga became the first foreign leader to be welcomed to the White House since President Joe Biden took office. Reuters reported this underscores Tokyo’s central role in Washington’s efforts to counter China in the Asia-Pacific region.
The two leaders are expected to make decisions aimed at diversifying supply chains that are considered overly dependent on China and developing an alternative version of the 5G networks currently produced by the Chinese company Huawei, a US administration source told Reuters.
Biden and Suga also plan to discuss human rights issues related to China, including the situation in Hong Kong and Xinjiang, the source said.
The summit, which was Biden’s first face-to-face meeting with a foreign leader, is expected to include an official statement on Taiwan, an island claimed by China. Under pressure from Beijing, the source, who requested anonymity, added.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Friday that Biden’s talks with Suga would address “China’s violent actions” against Taiwan, which is the most sensitive territorial issue for the PRC.
The leaders of the United States and Japan will make the first joint statement on Taiwan since 1969.
Suga first met with Vice President Kamala Harris and then began talks with Biden in the Oval Office. After that, the two leaders will take part in a joint press conference. In the morning, Suga attended a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.
“Japan appreciates that the Biden-Harris administration attaches great importance to cooperation with its allies and partners,” Suga told reporters before meeting with Kamala Harris.
Harris added that the topic of conversation would be “our mutual commitments in the Indo-Pacific region.”