Biden’s two-day visit will culminate in the formal launch of an economic plan for deeper US involvement in Asia.
President Joe Biden assured his “close friend” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Monday that the United States is fully committed to defending Japan amid mounting tensions with China and the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The cornerstone of Biden’s two-day visit, which includes meetings with the leaders of Japan, India and Australia, in the “Quad” group, will be the launch of an Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, a comprehensive plan that forms an economic pillar for the US commitment to Asia.
“The US-Japan alliance has long been the cornerstone of peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific, and the United States remains fully committed to the defense of Japan,” Biden said at the start of talks with Kishida in the statement. Akasaka Palace in central Tokyo.
Biden was greeted with a military honor guard who played the hymns of both countries under a clear blue sky.
Earlier, he met Emperor Naruhito, who spoke briefly at the entrance to the palace before being led inside. The White House said Biden offered greetings on behalf of the American people, emphasizing the strength of the US-Japan relationship that is rooted in deep people-to-people ties.
The two countries are expected to discuss Japan’s plans to expand its military capabilities and outreach in response to China’s growing power.
The allies are also expected to reaffirm their close ties in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, agreeing that unilateral violent change of the status quo is unacceptable.
In Asia, concerns are mounting about an increasingly assertive China, especially given its close ties to Russia, and in particular tensions over self-ruled Taiwan, which China sees as a renegade province.
North Korea and regional issues will also be on the agenda, and Biden will later on Monday meet with families of Japanese who were kidnapped years ago to train spies in North Korea.
But the focal point of the day will be Biden’s launch of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF), a program to bring countries closer together through common standards in areas such as supply chain resilience, clean energy, infrastructure and digital trade. .
The United States has been missing an economic pillar for its Indo-Pacific involvement since former President Donald Trump withdrew from a multinational trans-Pacific trade deal, leaving the field open for China to expand its influence.
But the IPEF is unlikely to contain any binding commitments, and Asian countries and trade experts have been decidedly lukewarm about a program curtailed by Biden’s reluctance to risk US jobs by providing the greater market access the region craves.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in Japan for the Quad talks, and Australia’s new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is also expected.
Biden arrived in Japan late Sunday from South Korea and will depart for the United States on Tuesday.