Biden, Suga poised to present united front on Taiwan as China steps up pressure

Reuters | Updated: 16-04-2021 07:17 IST | Created: 16-04-2021 07:17 IST
Biden, Suga poised to present united front on Taiwan as China steps up pressure

U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will present a united front on Taiwan, China's most sensitive territorial issue, in a summit meeting on Friday, according to a senior U.S. administration official. Biden and Suga are expected to agree on a joint statement on the Chinese-claimed but democratically ruled island at Biden's first in-person meeting with a foreign leader, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Biden and Suga will also discuss Beijing's treatment of Muslims in the Xinjiang region and its influence over Hong Kong, while announcing a $2 billion Japanese investment in 5G telecommunications to counter China's Huawei Technologies. "You've seen a series of statements out of both the United States and Japan on the cross-strait circumstances on Taiwan, on our desire for the maintenance of peace and stability, on preserving the status quo, and I expect that you will see both a formal statement and consultations on these matters," the senior administration official told reporters.

The last time U.S and Japanese leaders referred to Taiwan in a joint statement was in 1969, when Japan's prime minister said maintenance of peace and security in the "Taiwan area" was important for its own security. That was before Tokyo normalized ties with Beijing. The move now aims to ratchet up pressure on China. However, such a statement appears likely to fall short of what the United States has been hoping to see from Suga, who inherited a China policy that sought to balance security concerns with deep economic ties when he took over as premier last September.

In a statement after a March meeting of U.S.-Japan defense and foreign ministers, the two sides "underscored the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait" and shared "serious concerns" about human rights in Hong Kong and Xinjiang. The U.S. official said the summit statement would follow on "nicely" from that, and that both countries, while not wanting to raise tensions or provoke China, sought to send a clear signal that Beijing's dispatch of warplanes into Taiwan's airspace was incompatible with peace and stability.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen told emissaries visiting at Biden's request on Thursday that the island would work with the United States to deter threats from Chinese military activities. China has never renounced the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control.

DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES A Japanese foreign ministry official said this week it had not been decided whether there would be a joint statement, and two Japanese ruling party lawmakers familiar with the discussions said officials have been divided over whether Suga should endorse a strong statement on Taiwan.

The U.S. official said Washington expected "each of our countries has slightly different perspectives" and would not "insist on Japan somehow signing on to every dimension of our approach." "We also recognize the deep economic and commercial ties between Japan and China and Prime Minister Suga wants to walk a careful course, and we respect that," he added.

With his first in-person summit with Suga and another planned with South Korea's leader in May, Biden is working to focus U.S. military and diplomatic resources to the Indo-Pacific and managing China’s rising global power, which Biden sees as the critical foreign policy issue of the era. "The big issues that are playing out are playing out in the western Pacific, and Afghanistan was really receiving a disproportionate amount of time and focus and attention to the senior-most leadership," said the U.S. official, after Biden announced plans to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan by Sept. 11.

UNITED QUAD Biden hopes to energize joint efforts with Australia, India and Japan, known as the Quad, plus South Korea, to counter both China and a longtime foe, North Korea. Biden and Suga are expected to announce plans for the next Quad meeting on Friday, the official said.

Presenting a united front will require a delicate balancing act given Japan and South Korea's economic ties with China and the frosty relations between Seoul and Tokyo. "It is concerning to us, even to the point of being painful, for us to see relations between Japan and South Korea fall to the current level," the U.S. official said.

"The political tensions are such that we believe it actually impedes all of our abilities to be effective in Northeast Asia, and I think the president will want to discuss this in some detail with Prime Minister Suga." Relations between Tokyo and Seoul have frayed over issues connected to Japan's 1910-45 colonization of Korea, including that of Korean women forced to work in Japanese wartime brothels.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Blockchain in Healthcare: Opportunities and challenges

The use of blockchain in healthcare is a relatively new innovation with many of its uses still being explored and related technologies being developed, improved, and scaled. ...

Debate surrounding vaccine passports and development misses bigger picture

... ...

Blockchain vs IOTA: Looking for a better alternative

... ...

For stability, Iraq needs to crack down on corruption

... ...

Videos

Latest News

Israeli police, Palestinians clash at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa, scores injured

Israeli police fired rubber bullets and stun grenades towards rock-hurling Palestinian youth at Jerusalems Al-Aqsa Mosque on Friday amid growing anger over the potential eviction of Palestinians from homes on land claimed by Jewish settlers...

Soccer-Neymar to extend PSG contract on Saturday - report

Brazil forward Neymar will extend his contract on Saturday with Paris St Germain by four years until 2026, French sports daily LEquipe reported on Friday.Neymar, 29, joined PSG in 2017 from La Liga side Barcelona for a record transfer fee o...

Georgia judge sets October trial in slaying of Ahmaud Arbery

A Georgia judge has scheduled an October trial for three white men charged with murder in the slaying of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man who was chased and shot while running in the defendants neighbourhood last year.Superior Court J...

Frieze New York art fair: seeing Black lives differently

At the Frieze art fair in New York, over 60 leading galleries are paying tribute to social justice, showing works by the worlds most influential artists. The goal is to change how we see the world by examining arts role in portraying race a...

Give Feedback