Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida hold their first official meeting

President Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida held their first official meeting virtually on Friday to discuss relations between the two countries and the threat posed by China in the Pacific.

During the call, which lasted just over 80 minutes, the two leaders appeared cheerful and smiling in photos released by the White House and Japan. Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“Prime Minister, can you hear me? Biden said at the start of the call, which was recorded in a brief video clip released by the White House.

Kishida, 64, said hello and waved in response.

“Good to see you again,” Biden said, adding that he “enjoyed our brief encounter in Glasgow.”

The two leaders met at the United Nations COP26 climate summit in November in Scotland. They previously spoke on the phone in November when Biden called to congratulate Kishida on his election victory the previous month.

President Biden met virtually with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on January 21, 2022.
Adam Schultz/The White House via AP
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and President Biden discussed the threat posed by China in the Pacific.
Cabinet Secretary/Kyodo News via AP

A senior White House official said the two leaders had a “very thorough discussion” on China and touched on issues of mutual concern, including Beijing bullying its neighbors and bolstering its nuclear arsenal.

Biden and Kishida also discussed the current situation in Xinjiang, where Uighur Muslims and other ethnic minorities have been herded into camps and forced to undertake forced labor in what the State Department has called “genocide.” “.

“President Biden and I were able to exchange views frankly, in a very calm and quiet way, on how Japan and the United States cooperate and lead international society together, which I believe will lead to a further strengthening of the Japan-US alliance,” Kishida told Japanese media after the call.

President Joe Biden
President Biden has affirmed the United States’ unwavering commitment to defending Japan.
AP Photo/Susan Walsh and Eugene Hoshiko, file

According to the White House, the two leaders also discussed the inauguration of a “2 plus 2” forum which will focus on economic issues in the Indo-Pacific region, such as technology and supply chains.

Biden and Kishida also discussed recent ballistic missile launches by North Korea and made it clear that the two countries were ready for diplomacy.

The senior administration official revealed that Biden “made it clear” that the United States would work closely with South Korea and Japan on “next steps to deter any provocations that may follow.”

The president also asserted that the United States had an “unwavering commitment to the defense of Japan,” the White House said.

Kishida, who is from Hiroshima, where the United States dropped an atomic bomb at the end of World War II, also said he told Biden about his concerns about nuclear security and the idea of ​​reaching to “a world without nuclear weapons”.

Friday’s call came as the United States faced growing tensions with Russia over Ukraine. Moscow has mustered around 100,000 troops along its western border, stoking fears of a possible invasion.

White House says Biden and Kishida ‘committed to working closely together to deter Russian aggression against Ukraine’, with PM pledging to remain in close coordination with US and other allies whether a response to Russia is warranted.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida
Prime Minister Kishida believed his meeting with President Biden would strengthen the Japan-US alliance.
AP Photo/Susan Walsh and Eugene Hoshiko, file

During his first year in office, Biden has made it clear that one of his priorities is to strengthen ties in the Indo-Pacific. However, some alliances have caused rifts with other allies – particularly in the case of the AUKUS nuclear submarine deal.

On Friday, Biden and Kishisa spoke about the importance of the Quad alliance between Australia, Japan, India and the United States to ensure a “free and open Indo-Pacific region”.

The two leaders also “committed to ensuring that the Quad delivers practical results in areas such as the COVID-19 response, climate and clean energy, and infrastructure.”

Kishdia invited Biden to travel to Japan this spring for the upcoming Quad Leaders meeting, and the president accepted.

Following the call, Biden shared a photo of the meeting on Twitter, adding that “it was an honor to meet with Prime Minister Kishida to further strengthen the U.S.-Japan alliance – the cornerstone of peace and security in the Indo-Pacific and around the world.”

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