TOKYO: US President Joe Biden on Monday endorsed Japan’s plan to beef up its defence capabilities as he and Prime Minister KISHIDA Fumio are committed to working closely to counter China’s growing influence in Asia.
Biden, on his first trip to Asia since taking office, is visiting the region as concerns grow about China’s assertiveness and reach across security and supply chains.
The US president commended Kishida’s determination to strengthen Japan’s defence capabilities, the White House said in a statement following their meeting. The two leaders committed to working closely on China’s “increasingly coercive behaviour that runs counter to international law,” it said.
The two were expected to hold a joint news conference.
The cornerstone of Biden’s 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 broad plan providing an economic pillar for US engagement with 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 Japan’s defence,” Biden said at the beginning of talks with Kishida at the Akasaka Palace in central Tokyo.
Earlier, he met Emperor Naruhito, talking briefly at the palace entrance before being ushered inside. The White House said Biden offered greetings on behalf of the American people, highlighting the strength of the US-Japan relationship.