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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.

Go deeper

Apr 20, 2021 - World

China's Xi swipes at U.S.: "Countries shouldn't impose rules on others"

China's President Xi Jinping during a video summit in Beijing on Friday. Photo: Li Xueren/Xinhua via Getty Images

China's President Xi Jinping on Tuesday warned against "bossing others around or meddling in others' internal affairs" and called for "more fair and equitable" global governance.

Why it matters: Xi's thinly veiled swipes at the U.S. during an online speech at an economic forum come at a time of heightened tensions between Beijing and Washington over trade, human rights and China's strategic and economic ambitions.

The U.S. credibility chasm on climate change

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The biggest hurdle for President Biden in winning new emissions reduction commitments at this week's White House summit is America's on-again, off-again history of climate change efforts.

Why it matters: The global community is off course to meet the temperature targets contained in the Paris Climate Agreement. The White House wants the summit Thursday and Friday to begin to change that.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Apr 19, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Treasury Dept. unveils climate "hub" and names former Obama official as lead

The U.S. Treasury Building. Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty Images)

The Treasury Department offered more information Monday on plans to expand its focus on global warming, and said John E. Morton, a climate finance expert who served in the Obama administration, will lead the efforts.

Why it matters: Announcement of the new "Climate Hub" and Morton's appointment signal how the Biden administration is stitching climate policy into the fabric of agencies across the government.