Apr 20, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden and Japan's Suga announce "new era" in U.S.-Japan ties

Picture of President Biden and Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga

President Biden and Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga hold a news conference at the White House, April 16. Photo: Doug Mills/Pool/Getty Images

The United States and Japan released a joint statement after President Biden and Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga met in Washington last week to announce "a new era" in U.S.-Japan relations.

Why it matters: The show of unity is a clear signal that both countries are eager to show Beijing that democracies are still setting the rules in the Indo-Pacific region.

What they're saying: "Together we pledge to demonstrate that free and democratic nations, working together, are able to address the global threats from COVID-19 and climate change while resisting challenges to the free and open rules-based international order," the statement says.

  • "Through this new era of friendship between the United States and Japan, each of our democracies will grow stronger still."

Between the lines: The statement only mentioned China a few times, underscoring the Biden administration's efforts to make effective global leadership, rather than direct confrontation, its primary strategy in countering Beijing.

  • Biden and Suga also announced two new partnerships, one to fight climate change and one to strengthen global economic recovery.

Beijing's response: The Chinese Embassy said in a statement that the U.S.-Japan announcement went “far beyond the scope of normal development of bilateral relations.”

  • "It cannot be more ironic that such attempt of stoking division and building blocs against other countries is put under the banner of 'free and open,'" the embassy added.
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