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President Joe Biden hosted Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga at the White House on Friday in his first in-person meeting with a world leader since he took office.
Biden's decision to host Suga for his first face-to-face meeting highlights the U.S. administration's focus on strengthening ties with its allies in Asia as it works to counter an increasingly strong and competitive China.
"Neither country is seeking to raise tension or provoke China, but at the same time, we're trying to send a clear signal," a senior U.S. official said. "We also recognize the deep economic and commercial ties between Japan and China, and Prime Minister Suga wants to walk a careful course, and we respect that."
That said, the official added, both the U.S. and Japan tried to send a clear signal about what they perceive as Beijing's rise and relevance on a global scale.
On the other hand, the U.S. government representative stated that Biden availed himself of the opportunity to discuss a supposedly new U.S. strategy towards the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).
Also, Biden similarly prioritized discussing Japan's strained relationship with South Korea.
After the meeting, Suga announced his commitment to work with the U.S. on 5G technology and disclosed specific measures on climate change that will place his country in a leadership position in the 2030 global climate goals.