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Biden, Suga poised to present united front on Taiwan as China steps up pressure

Stock MarketsApr 15, 2021 09:56PM ET
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2/2 © Reuters. U.S. President Biden delivers remarks on Russia at the White House in Washington 2/2

By Trevor Hunnicutt and David Brunnstrom

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will present a united front on Taiwan, China's most sensitive territorial issue, in a summit meeting on Friday, according to a senior U.S. administration official.

Biden and Suga are expected to agree on a joint statement on the Chinese-claimed but democratically ruled island at Biden's first in-person meeting with a foreign leader, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Biden and Suga will also discuss Beijing's treatment of Muslims in the Xinjiang region and its influence over Hong Kong, while announcing a $2 billion Japanese investment in 5G telecommunications to counter China's Huawei Technologies.

"You've seen a series of statements out of both the United States and Japan on the cross-strait circumstances on Taiwan, on our desire for the maintenance of peace and stability, on preserving the status quo, and I expect that you will see both a formal statement and consultations on these matters," the senior administration official told reporters.

The last time U.S and Japanese leaders referred to Taiwan in a joint statement was in 1969, when Japan's prime minister said maintenance of peace and security in the "Taiwan area" was important for its own security. That was before Tokyo normalized ties with Beijing.

The move now aims to ratchet up pressure on China. However, such a statement appears likely to fall short of what the United States has been hoping to see from Suga, who inherited a China policy that sought to balance security concerns with deep economic ties when he took over as premier last September.

In a statement after a March meeting of U.S.-Japan defense and foreign ministers, the two sides "underscored the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait" and shared "serious concerns" about human rights in Hong Kong and Xinjiang.

The U.S. official said the summit statement would follow on "nicely" from that, and that both countries, while not wanting to raise tensions or provoke China, sought to send a clear signal that Beijing's dispatch of warplanes into Taiwan's airspace was incompatible with peace and stability.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen told emissaries visiting at Biden's request on Thursday that the island would work with the United States to deter threats from Chinese military activities.

China has never renounced the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control.

DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES

A Japanese foreign ministry official said this week it had not been decided whether there would be a joint statement, and two Japanese ruling party lawmakers familiar with the discussions said officials have been divided over whether Suga should endorse a strong statement on Taiwan.

The U.S. official said Washington expected "each of our countries has slightly different perspectives" and would not "insist on Japan somehow signing on to every dimension of our approach."

"We also recognize the deep economic and commercial ties between Japan and China and Prime Minister Suga wants to walk a careful course, and we respect that," he added.

With his first in-person summit with Suga and another planned with South Korea's leader in May, Biden is working to focus U.S. military and diplomatic resources to the Indo-Pacific and managing China’s rising global power, which Biden sees as the critical foreign policy issue of the era.

"The big issues that are playing out are playing out in the western Pacific, and Afghanistan was really receiving a disproportionate amount of time and focus and attention to the senior-most leadership," said the U.S. official, after Biden announced plans to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan by Sept. 11.

UNITED QUAD

Biden hopes to energize joint efforts with Australia, India and Japan, known as the Quad, plus South Korea, to counter both China and a longtime foe, North Korea. Biden and Suga are expected to announce plans for the next Quad meeting on Friday, the official said.

Presenting a united front will require a delicate balancing act given Japan and South Korea's economic ties with China and the frosty relations between Seoul and Tokyo.

"It is concerning to us, even to the point of being painful, for us to see relations between Japan and South Korea fall to the current level," the U.S. official said.

"The political tensions are such that we believe it actually impedes all of our abilities to be effective in Northeast Asia, and I think the president will want to discuss this in some detail with Prime Minister Suga."

Relations between Tokyo and Seoul have frayed over issues connected to Japan's 1910-45 colonization of Korea, including that of Korean women forced to work in Japanese wartime brothels.

Biden, Suga poised to present united front on Taiwan as China steps up pressure
 

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Comments (6)
John Raymond
John Raymond Apr 16, 2021 4:52AM ET
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biden is sending a lot of mixed messages on china indicating anything but firm rrdlove and decisive leadership..and everyone knows this
Walter Topher
Walter Topher Apr 16, 2021 4:38AM ET
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𝚛𝗲𝗰𝗲𝗶𝘃𝗲 $ 10,000. 𝚑𝗲𝗿𝗲'𝘀 𝗵𝗼𝘄: 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗳𝗮𝘀𝘁𝗲𝘀𝘁 𝘄𝗮𝘆 𝘁𝗼 $ 10,000 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗳𝗶𝘁. 𝚐𝘂𝗮𝗿𝗮𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗲𝗱. 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗳𝗮𝘀𝘁𝗲𝘀𝘁 𝗽𝗮𝘁𝗵 𝘁𝗼 𝗮 𝗴𝘂𝗮𝗿𝗮𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗲𝗱 $ 10,000 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗳𝗶𝘁 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗰𝗮𝗻'𝘁 𝗹𝗼𝘀𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝗶𝘁. 𝚑𝗲𝗿𝗲'𝘀 𝗵𝗼𝘄: 𝚑𝗶 𝗹𝗲𝘁 𝗺𝗲 𝗮𝘀𝗸 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗮 𝗾𝘂𝗶𝗰𝗸 𝗾𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻. 𝘄𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘄𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗱𝗼 𝗶𝗳 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗸𝗻𝗲𝘄 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗰𝗮𝗻 𝗻𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿 𝗹𝗼𝘀𝗲? 𝘄𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝘁𝗮𝗸𝗲 𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝘁𝗵𝗲 "𝗿𝗶𝘀𝗸𝘆" 𝗼𝗽𝗽𝗼𝗿𝘁𝘂𝗻𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗲𝘀 𝗶𝗳 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗸𝗻𝗲𝘄 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗿𝗲𝘀𝘂𝗹𝘁 𝘄𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝗯𝗲 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗳𝗶𝘁𝗮𝗯𝗹𝗲? 𝚌𝗵𝗲𝗰𝗸 𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝘁𝗿𝗲𝗻𝗯𝗮𝘀.𝗴𝗮
Bob Haze
Bob Haze Apr 15, 2021 11:04PM ET
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Yes united front also with dumping nuclear waste into the sea.
Mr KP
Mr KP Apr 15, 2021 10:53PM ET
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only problem on earth now is china , it will self destroy itself one day
Zeb Fullmer
Zeb Fullmer Apr 15, 2021 10:00PM ET
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Biden doesnt know where he is at. let's be honest.
Junk Man
Junk_Man Apr 15, 2021 9:57PM ET
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The US should take care of it's own problems first..
 
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