|US President Joe Biden in his first in-person meeting with another head of state will welcome Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Friday at White House. The summit is expected to discuss steps diversifying supply chains, technological cooperation on 5G network and a “free and open Indo-Pacific”. China is expected to be in focus that dominates the upcoming talks between both the leaders as reported by Chinese state media. Suga said on Thursday before leaving for Washington, he hoped to show U.S.-Japan leadership in creating a “free and open Indo-Pacific” and build a relationship of trust with Biden.
Biden’s hosting of Suga, comes days after he sent an unofficial delegation to Taiwan in a show of support for the self-ruled island amid the frequent flying of Chinese fighter planes over Taiwan strait which US terms as antithetical to the mission of maintaining peace and stability. The meeting also comes against the backdrop of increasing tensions between Japan and China over Senkaku islands and ongoing bickering between US and China over Xinjiang. Japan is the only member of the Group of Seven (G7) not to have put sanctions against China over its treatment of Uygurs and other ethnic minority groups in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, after the US joined with Canada and European countries to levy sanctions against Beijing in March. China rejects allegations over Xinjiang. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian commented on Friday that China has expressed serious concern over the US and Japan’s “negative tendency” against China during upcoming US, Japan leaders’ summit. He urged the countries to treat China’s concerns and requests seriously.
Experts believe, both the countries seek support of each other on such issues and other issues of mutual interest. In a further sign of the United States’ focus on the Indo-Pacific region, Biden will host South Korean President Moon Jae-in during the second half of May, the White House announced on Thursday.