Biden, New Japan PM Kishida Agree to Keep Alliance Strong
(Bloomberg) -- New Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said he spoke with U.S. President Joe Biden in his first call with a foreign leader since taking office and the two agreed to hold an in-person summit soon.
Kishida told reporters in Tokyo on Tuesday he and Biden had agreed they would closely cooperate as they work on security challenges posed by China and North Korea and global issues such as climate change and the coronavirus pandemic. Kishida became prime minister Monday.
“We affirmed we will strengthen the Japan-U.S. alliance and work toward a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Kishida said. The White House also issued a statement on the call, saying the U.S.-Japan alliance is the “cornerstone of peace, security, and stability in the Indo-Pacific and around the world.”
Ties with China, Japan’s largest trading partner, are one of the challenges facing Kishida’s new administration, with relations between the two turning particularly chilly following Beijing’s clampdown on Hong Kong. He has said he wants dialogue to continue, but will unite with countries that share Japan’s values to convey necessary messages.
Biden expressed a strong commitment to the U.S.-Japan security treaty, under which the U.S. is bound to act in the event of an armed attack on territories under Japanese administration, reaffirming the treaty applies to East China Sea islands controlled by Japan and disputed with China, Kishida said.
Kishida’s in-person debut on the global stage may be delayed given the timing of the general election on Oct. 31. He told reporters Monday he planned to take part in both the Group of 20 summit in Italy and the COP26 climate summit in the U.K. remotely.
Kishida’s predecessor, Yoshihide Suga, was the first foreign leader to hold a summit with Biden at the White House after he took office last year, and the two made an unusual reference to the importance of stability in the Taiwan Strait in their joint statement.
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