84% of Americans view Japan positively: United States poll

84% of Americans view Japan positively: United States poll”

President Biden has sought to focus his administration's foreign policy on the challenges posed by China - a topic he is set to discuss with Japan's prime minister on Friday. "This is an alliance that is connected by universal values, such as freedom, democracy and the rule of law", Suga said.

The Biden administration says the primary challenge for the United States lies in managing US policies toward the Indo-Pacific, the main theater in which China is flexing its growing economic and military power.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned his Japanese counterpart in a call ahead of Suga's visit to see to it that China-Japan relations "do not get involved in the so-called confrontation between major countries", according to a Chinese government readout.

China also has taken note of the Biden administration's support for reviving a loose four-country coalition with Japan, India and Australia, known as the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or Quad.

"The signaling effect of this summit to all of Asia is really important because it shows the serious about its strategy in Asia and that it starts with a strong U.S. -Japan alliance", said Nicholas Szechenyi, deputy director of the Japan Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank. "Prime Minister Suga wants to walk a careful course and we respect that".

Speaking through a translator, Suga expressed his honest gratitude for inviting him as the first foreign guest in Washington despite the COVID-19 pandemic since the inauguration of the Biden administration.

Biden will lead a virtual summit next week in hopes of rallying greater commitments on climate amid growing evidence of a planetary crisis as average temperatures hit record highs and natural disasters become more frequent.

Sporting events also made the agenda between the two leaders. "In light of the current regional situation and the severe security environment, the importance of our alliance has reached new heights", Suga told reporters at a White House news conference with Biden.

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Taiwan is very sensitive issue for China, whose ruling Communist Party claims as its territory despite having never ruled it. Washington is required by USA law to provide the island with the means to defend itself, despite not recognizing Taiwan as a country.

This is the first time leaders of Japan and the U.S. have referred to Taiwan in a joint statement in more than 50 years.

Both leaders referenced the need to confront challenges in the East China Sea and the South China Sea, a nod to an increasingly aggressive Beijing.

Taiwan's foreign ministry also tweeted: "We welcome the statement by @POTUS & @sugawitter in which they underscore the importance of peace & stability across the Taiwan Strait".

Japan long has moved cautiously on steps that might worsen relations with China, though Suga has been more outspoken.

Japan recently joined the US and other countries in calling out Beijing's human rights abuses and incursions into disputed areas of the East and South China Seas, seen as a departure from a longstanding trade and economics-centered approach. China has been building military bases on artificial islands in the region also claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

Japan hosts approximately 55,000 USA troops.

Kamala Harris, the first Asian American to serve as vice president, as well as the first Black woman, met privately with Suga in the morning, before his meetings with Biden.

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