The meeting between Joe Biden and the head of the Japanese government Yoshihide Suga, the first foreign leader welcomed in Washington by the new president of the United States, was rich. They notably committed, Friday, April 16, to face ” together “ to the “Challenges” posed by China.
“We are determined to work together to meet the challenges posed by China and on issues such as the East China Sea, the South China Sea, but also North Korea., said the Democratic president during a joint press conference in the rose garden of the White House. We work together to demonstrate that democracies can win the competitions of the XXIe century by bringing results for their peoples. “
Echoing this union of democrats wanted by the American president to stand together in the face of the inexorable rise to power of Beijing, the head of the Japanese government spoke of an alliance based on “Freedom, democracy and human rights”. He added by assuring him also that the two allied countries would oppose “At any attempt” Chinese for “Change the status quo by force or intimidation in the South and East China seas”.
A collaboration around 5G networks
The choice of the Japanese leader as first guest, to be followed in May by South Korean President Moon Jae-in, reflects the priority given by Joe Biden to the closest allies of the United States, especially in Asia where the competition is played out. against Washington’s number one strategic opponent.
Anxious to highlight tangible progress, the US president said he would work with Tokyo to “Promote reliable and secure 5G networks” – his entourage mentioned “A very substantial commitment” of two billion dollars taken by Japan in partnership with the United States.
Former US President Donald Trump launched a campaign to pressure many countries to give up using the equipment of Chinese giant Huawei, which has established itself as a leader in the deployment of the fifth generation of mobile networks . Joe Biden wants to continue the offensive, and claimed that the technologies at the heart of global competition were “Governed by the standards set by democracies, not by autocracies”.
The two leaders also spoke of the growing tensions over Taiwan, which denounces increasingly hostile actions on the part of Beijing, and the strategy against North Korea, which the US president is due to unveil soon.
A senior official in the Biden administration noted that the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, announced this week, would “Free up time, attention and resources” the United States “To concentrate” sure “The fundamental challenges of the XXIe century, which are in the Indo-Pacific region ”.
Climate and Olympic ambitions
The White House has also welcomed the fact that Yoshihide Suga has “Announced that he would join the United States to unveil a new goal” reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 by the big virtual climate summit organized by the Democratic President in a week.
The Japanese Prime Minister finally reiterated his “Determination” to organize the Olympic Games ” this summer “ in Tokyo (scheduled from July 23 to August 8), as the persistence of the Covid-19 pandemic had recently revived speculations on a new cancellation
“Japan listens and learns from the World Health Organization and experts” and made his “Maximum” to prepare for the Games, he added. It is “Do everything possible to contain infections and to organize the Games in a scientifically safe way”, he stressed.
Caution from Japan
Yoshihide Suga, however, had to explain to the US president his reservations about the Americans’ attempt to enlist Japan more frankly in their confrontation with China – the Japanese economy still depends largely on trade with Beijing. Tokyo has thus refrained in recent months from joining US sanctions against the repression of Uyghur Muslims by the Chinese authorities.
According to Michael Green, former adviser to ex-President George W. Bush on Asia and currently vice-president of the think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies, “The Biden administration is worried about the growing aggressiveness of China and the ground lost by the United States in the region in recent years”, and therefore wants “Quickly make up for lost time”.
Japan, for its part, wants to methodically follow its more cautious strategy. “There are therefore some nuances in the public expression of their positions, but they are generally heading in the same direction”.