The age-old alliance between the US and Japan is the cornerstone of peace and security in the strategic Indo-Pacific region and across the world, US President Joe Biden said in his virtual meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Friday.
In his meeting with Prime Minister Kishida, President Biden accepted an invitation to visit Japan later this year to attend the second in-person Quad summit, which would also be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"It was an honor to meet with Prime Minister Kishida to further strengthen the US-Japan alliance the cornerstone of peace and security in the Indo-Pacific and around the world, Biden said in a tweet after the meeting.
As Indo-Pacific powers, the United States and Japan are united in a shared purpose to sustain and enhance their commitment to the region, the White House said in a readout of the meeting.
India, the US and several other world powers have been talking about the need to ensure a free, open and thriving Indo-Pacific in the backdrop of China's rising military manoeuvring in the region.
The two leaders resolved to push back against China's attempts to change the status quo in the East China Sea and the South China Sea, underscoring the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues, the statement said.
The Chinese military is actively eying the strategic Indian Ocean region to step up Beijing's influence. China claims nearly all of the disputed South China Sea, though Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam all claim parts of it.
Beijing has built artificial islands and military installations in the South China Sea. China also has territorial disputes with Japan in the East China Sea. The US maintains it will support its regional allies in the defence of a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
The two leaders also shared concerns about China's practices in Xinjiang and Hong Kong.
The two leaders remain committed to working closely with allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond. Biden and Kishida reaffirmed their support for ASEAN centrality and resolved to strengthen our cooperation in Southeast Asia, the White House said.
The two leaders highlighted the importance of the Quad Australia, Japan, India, and the United States as a critical forum for promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific region, and resolved to ensure the Quad delivers practical results in areas such as COVID-19 response, climate and clean energy, and infrastructure, it said.
In 2017, India, Australia, Japan and the US gave shape to the long-pending proposal of setting up the "Quad" or the Quadrilateral coalition to counter China's aggressive behaviour in the strategically-vital Indo-Pacific region.
Biden welcomed Kishida's invitation to visit Japan for the next Quad Leaders Meeting in the first half of 2022, the White House said.
The two leaders resolved to enhance economic ties between the US and Japan. Noting the progress made under the Competitiveness and Resilience (CoRe) Partnership announced in April 2021, Biden and Kishida established a new ministerial-level Economic Policy Consultative Committee (the Economic 2+2), to track and drive economic cooperation and to strengthen the rules-based economic order in the Indo-Pacific region and the world, it said.
The two leaders affirmed the importance of US economic leadership in the Indo-Pacific, which President Biden committed to intensify. To that end, Prime Minister Kishida expressed strong support for President Biden's proposed Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, and pledged to work closely with the United States to build support for the initiative in the region, the White House said.
The President and Prime Minister Kishida agreed on the importance of economic policies that are sustainable and inclusive, and benefit the middle class. The two leaders also expressed their desire for the swift resolution of trade issues, it said.
Biden and Kishida condemned the recent ballistic missile launches by North Korea which are in violation of United Nations
Security Council resolutions, the White House said. The leaders committed to work closely together to deter Russian aggression against Ukraine, and Kishida pledged to continue close coordination with the US, other allies and partners, and the international community on taking strong action in response to any attack, the statement said.
Biden and Kishida affirmed the importance of close cooperation among the United States, Japan, and South Korea in addressing common challenges, and underscored the imperative of a strong trilateral relationship on security and more broadly, it said.
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