Published: Sat, April 17, 2021

Biden backs Japan PM on holding 'safe and secure' Olympic Games

Biden backs Japan PM on holding 'safe and secure' Olympic Games

While Biden has held virtual meetings with world leaders, including bilateral engagements with the Canadian prime minister and Mexican president, during the coronavirus pandemic, he had yet to host foreign officials at the White House until Friday.

"Our alliance has served its role as the foundation of peace and stability for the Indo-Pacific region and the world".

Speaking to reporters with Biden after their meetings, Suga also spoke out against a surge in attacks on Asians in the United States amid the coronavirus pandemic, and he and Biden pledged to fight such crimes.

Suga, who is on a state visit to the USA, said at a press conference on Friday that he told President Joe Biden he was committed to moving forward with the Games and that Biden offered his support. That means even "with security concerns on the rise, Japan would have to take a two-pronged approach to balance competition and cooperation", said Akio Takahara, a professor and China expert at the University of Tokyo. "We will also cooperate with other countries in the region including the ASEAN, Australia and India", Suga said at a joint press conference after holding a meeting with US President Joe Biden. "We agreed to oppose any attempt to change the status quo by force or coercion in the East and the South China Seas and intimidation of others in the region", he added.

Elsewhere, Tokyo has watched with concern as China has built military installations on disputed territory it claims in the South China Sea. "They complained about it in the two-plus-two statement in February 2005 when it said the two countries 'encourage the peaceful resolution of issues concerning the Taiwan Strait through dialogue.' China was very upset over that statement".

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach plans to visit Japan in May to attend a Tokyo Olympics torch relay ceremony and meet with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, sources close to the matter said Friday.


This is the first time leaders of Japan and the USA have referred to Taiwan in a joint statement in more than 50 years. We can deliver for our people in the face of a rapidly changing world.

Biden's early meeting with Suga, as well as his planned get-together next month with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, another important Pacific Rim ally, reflect the administration's effort to bolster the United States' alliances with both countries as a way of countering China's rising economic and military ambitions, as well as deterring nuclear-armed North Korea.

"We have to strengthen our alliances and work with likeminded partners to ensure that the rules of worldwide norms that govern cyber threats and emerging technologies that will shape our future are grounded in our democratic values, not those of the autocrats", Biden said.

During a news conference in the Rose Garden after their discussions, Biden said that the decision to meet in person amid the pandemic was "indicative of the value and importance we both place on this relationship".

Sporting events also made the agenda between the two leaders.

"The Biden administration, I think, is concerned at how aggressive China has been and how much ground the U.S. has lost in recent years in Asia and wants to catch up quickly", said Michael Green, who was the top Asia adviser to former president George W. Bush and is now senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "That includes making sure we invest in and protect technologies that will maintain and sharpen our competitive edge".

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