The U.S. President will hold talks with the leaders of Japan, India and Australia in Tokyo as part of the “Quadrilateral Dialogue.”
The U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday assured his “good friend” Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida that the U.S. is fully committed to the defense of Japan amid rising tensions with China and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The cornerstone of Biden’s two-day visit, which includes meetings with the leaders of Japan, India and Australia within the framework of the Quadrilateral Dialogue, will be the launch of the Indo–Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), a broad plan that provides an economic basis for U.S. interaction with Asia.
“The U.S.-Japan alliance has long been the cornerstone of peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region, and the United States remains fully committed to Japan’s defense,” Biden said at the start of talks with Kishida at the Akasaka Palace in central Tokyo.
Under a bright blue sky, Biden was met by a military honor guard who performed the anthems of both countries.
Before that, he met with Emperor Naruhito, with whom he had a brief conversation at the entrance to the palace before going inside. The White House said Biden conveyed greetings on behalf of the American people, emphasizing the strength of US-Japanese relations based on deep ties between people.
The two countries are expected to discuss Japan’s plans to expand its military capabilities and influence in response to China’s growing power. It is also expected that the allies will confirm their close relations in the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, agreeing that unilateral change of the status quo by force is unacceptable.
There is growing concern in Asia about an increasingly assertive China, especially in light of its close ties with Russia. In addition, tensions are rising over self-governing Taiwan, which China views as its rebellious province.
North Korea and regional issues will also be on the agenda. Later on Monday, Biden will meet with relatives of Japanese who were abducted many years ago to train spies in North Korea.
But the main event of the day will be Biden’s launch of the Indo-Pacific Economic Program for Prosperity, designed to bring the countries of the region closer together through the introduction of common standards in areas such as supply chain sustainability, clean energy, infrastructure and digital commerce.
The United States lost the economic pillar of its interaction with the Indo-Pacific region when the previous president Donald Trump withdrew from the multinational trans-Pacific trade agreement, making room for the expansion of China’s influence.
However, IPEF is unlikely to include legally binding provisions, and Asian countries and trade experts reacted rather coolly to the program, which is limited by Biden’s unwillingness to risk American jobs through expanding market access, which the region so wants.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will arrive in Japan to participate in the negotiations of the “Four-Sided Dialogue”. The arrival of the new Prime Minister of Australia Anthony Albanese is also expected.
Biden arrived in Japan on Sunday evening from South Korea and will travel home to the United States on Tuesday.