In the first in-person meeting at the White House since President Biden entered office, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said the two leaders discussed the “severe security environment” and People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) actions in the Indo-Pacific region.
The two nation’s addressed not only China’s increased military involvement in the South China Sea and security measures the PRC is using to pressure Taiwan, but also human right abuses in Xinjiang and Hong Kong.
“The U.S. and Japan are actually ganging up to form cliques and fanning bloc confrontation,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement Saturday. “This anachronistic move runs counter to the aspiration for peace, development and cooperation shared by the overwhelming majority of countries in the region and beyond.”
Tensions between China and the U.S. have been on the rise following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, but Japan has had their own qualms with their Pacific neighbor.
In a statement following the bilateral talks, Japan and the U.S. expressed their concern regarding China’s military involvement around the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.
The islands, also known as Diaoyu Dao, are uninhabited and administered by Japan, but claimed by China.
“Taiwan and Diaoyu Dao are both Chinese territory. Issues relating to Hong Kong and Xinjiang are purely China’s internal affairs,” the Foreign Ministry said. “China has indisputable sovereignty over islands in the South China Sea and waters around them.”
The U.S.-Japan meeting came just days after 22 Chinese aircraft flew into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone, including fighter jets and nuclear-capable bombers.
The U.S. Navy has in turn increased their presence in the Taiwan Strait and Biden said the U.S. along with Japan, are “committed to working together to take on the challenges from China.”