The US and Japan are preparing a statement that will call to “deter and respond to” China’s activities in the Indo-Pacific region, Nikkei Asia reported on Tuesday.
The statement will be released Monday after President Biden holds his first face-to-face meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. US and Japanese rhetoric against China has increased in recent years as Washington is more focused on confronting Beijing.
Last year, when Biden met with then-Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, they released a joint statement calling for peace and stability in the “Taiwan Strait,” marking the first time the two countries mentioned Taiwan together since 1969.
The Nikkei report said this year’s statement is meant to be stronger than last year’s and will also mention the Taiwan Strait as well as its call to “deter” China. Biden and Kishida are expected to emphasize that they “will not allow the status quo to be changed by force.”
Biden is heading to Asia on Friday and will also visit South Korea. During his trip, he is set to announce the launch of the administration’s plan to counter China economically, known as the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework.
While the US is sending billions in weapons to Ukraine to fight Russia, the Biden administration still maintains that China is its top foreign policy priority. The Pentagon’s new National Defense Strategy has identified Beijing as the leading “threat” facing the US military, second to Moscow.
Japan is expected to play a major role in the US strategy to counter China, and Washington has been encouraging Tokyo to expand its military and its security cooperation with other countries.