US president Joe Biden and Japan prime minister Fumio Kishida held a meeting on Friday which lasted for more than 80 minutes during which both discussed issues related to China and the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.
“The two leaders resolved to push back against the People’s Republic of China (PRC)’s attempts to change the status quo in the East China Sea and South China Sea,” the White House said in an official statement. The statement said that both leaders also discussed China’s attempts to destabilise the peace across the Taiwan Strait.
Biden and Fumio Kishida also discussed the situation in Hong Kong, where China’s new sedition laws have muzzled the free press. They also discussed in detail the human rights abuses in Xinjiang province and the plight faced by the Uyghur Muslims.
Kishida also highlighted the series of new ballistic missile tests that North Korea conducted since the onset of the New Year. Japan clearly outlined to the US that the missile tests were a threat to ‘peace and stability of Japan, the region and the international community’. North Korea carried out at least three ballistic missile tests sparking fears that the technological revamp being carried out under strongman Kim Jong Un could lead to military as well as a nuclear conflict.
The Biden and Kishida meet could be seen as the US’ attempt to restore strong US-Japan relations, a move which was earlier questioned by his predecessor Donald Trump, who questioned the role played by NATO and other traditional US allies.
Biden assured Kishida that the conflict between China and Japan regarding the uninhabited but strategically located Senkaku Islands. “The president resolutely affirmed that Article V of the Mutual Security Treaty applies to the Senkaku Islands, and affirmed the United States’ unwavering commitment to the defence of Japan, using its full range of capabilities,” the statement said.
Discussions related to Ukraine also happened during the Biden-Kishida meet. Japan assured that it will work closely with the US to deter any Russian aggression in Ukraine. “Japanese prime minister Kishida pledged to continue close coordination with the United States, other allies and partners, and the international community on taking strong action in response to any attack,” the statement said.
Both heads of state discussed QUAD’s role in ensuring stability and peace in the Indo-Pacific. Biden said that he will visit Japan during the spring season for an in-person meeting with Kishida along with the QUAD summit between the leaders of Australia, India and Japan.