WASHINGTON –Amrican President Joe Biden will host his first face-to-face meeting with a foreign leader on Friday when Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga arrives at the White House for talks that are expected to focus heavily on another Asian powerhouse: China.
The U.S. and Japan are both looking to strengthen the alliance between the two countries as Washington tries to counter economic and military challenges posed by Beijing. The Biden administration sees Japan as an important regional ally as it prepares to confront China over issues such as human rights and unfair trade practices.
“The United States can only be effective in Asia when the U.S.-Japan relationship is strong and Japan is steady and stable,” a senior administration official told reporters on Thursday.
Suga will meet with Vice President Kamala Harris at her home Friday morning and then go to the White House for meetings with Biden and members of his Cabinet.
Topics on the agenda are likely to include the coronavirus pandemic, technology policy, regional security, climate change and even this summer’s Olympics in Tokyo.
At the center of the discussions will be China and how to manage the peace and stability of regional seas, including the Taiwan Strait. China has been sending warplanes into the area in a show of force intended to pressure Taiwan, a self-governed island that Beijing considers to be part of its territory.