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Suga, Biden seen adding pressure on China

Tokyo, April 10 (Jiji Press)–Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and U.S. President Joe Biden are expected to add pressure on China through their first face-to-face summit meeting in Washington on Friday.


The key issues in the meeting will include bilateral cooperation on national security and climate change as well as economic cooperation, including joint efforts to reduce supply chain vulnerabilities by cutting the two countries’ dependence on China.


Tokyo and Washington aim to highlight their cooperation in these areas, all prioritized by the Biden administration, pundits said.


The Japanese and U.S. governments are considering issuing joint documents on national security, climate change and economic cooperation, Japanese government sources said.


On climate change, which Suga has mentioned as a big agenda item, the two leaders are likely to share their resolve to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, putting greater pressure on China, a major greenhouse gas emitter.


In order to promote decarbonization efforts in developing countries, Tokyo and Washington are considering offering clean energy technology and financial aid, the sources said.


On the economic front, Japan hopes to work with the United States to diversify procurement and supply channels for key items, such as semiconductors, rare-earth minerals and pharmaceutical products, to reduce their dependence on China.


Tokyo and Washington recognize the importance of the issue especially after the novel coronavirus pandemic has exposed the vulnerabilities of global supply chains.


The envisaged joint documents are also expected to include cooperation over artificial intelligence and 5G superfast wireless communications technology.


At the summit, Suga and Biden are expected to reaffirm their countries’ policy of realizing a free and open Indo-Pacific region based on the principles of democracy and the rule of law.


In a document covering national security in general, the two countries are expected to show their opposition to China’s moves to intensify military pressure in the East and South China seas and underline the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.


Tokyo and Washington are seen expressing their “serious concerns” over deteriorating human rights situations in Hong Kong and the Xinjiang Uighur autonomous region.


Over environmental issues including greenhouse gas emission cuts, the U.S. government is asking Tokyo to set ambitious targets, a Japanese government source said.


If the Japanese government accepts the request, it may be criticized by the business community.


Other potentially difficult problems include human rights situations in China and Myanmar. The Suga-Biden meeting may end up highlighting the differences between the two countries over the issues.

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