WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — Calling democracy the foundation for global prosperity, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga met with President Joe Biden at the White House on Friday in a bid to underscore the two countries’ alliance as a counter to an autocratic and increasingly assertive China.
The visit was Biden’s first face-to-face talks with a foreign leader as president.
It comes after Chinese officials are threatening the countries not to get in China’s way.
For Biden and Suga, “our approach to China and our shared coordination and cooperation on that front will be part of the discussion,” press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday. The two will discuss other regional security issues, including North Korea’s nuclear program.
But Friday morning, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told reporters, including the Associated Press that China will be watching closely.
“China has no objection to the development of normal bilateral relations between Japan and the United States, but such relations should help enhance mutual understanding and trust among regional countries and contribute to peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, and should not target or harm the interests of third parties,” Zhao said.
A top Chinese diplomat also called U.S. policy on China “too negative,” Friday, saying it highlights confrontation over cooperation.
Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Le Yucheng said cooperation could be critically important as U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration focuses on COVID-19 and economic recovery.
Le told The Associated Press in an interview that the two countries could tide over many difficulties by working together. He said the emphasis on competition and confrontation lacks a forward-looking spirit.
But the vice minister added that cooperation needs to be on an equal basis and should not be “one side drawing up a laundry list or demands to the other side.”
Biden and Yoshihide appear to be walking close to the line on at least one issue. Reuters reports the two leaders are planning the countries’ first joint statement about Taiwan since 1969.
Taiwan is independently ruled, but China claims it. There have been increasing tensions between that government and Beijing.
Yoshihide will also discuss Japanese alternatives to reliance on Chinese supply chains, and working with the United States to develop 5G mobile technology. The Trump administration banned American investment in Huawei over concerns that China’s government could access data collected on Americans.