Biden meets Suga as the U.S. prepares to challenge China

U.S. and Japanese nationwide flags displayed exterior the Palace Hotel Tokyo on May 25, 2019 forward of former U.S President Donald Trump’s state go to.

Tomohiro Ohsumi | Getty Images

U.S. President Joe Biden will meet with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Friday — and political analysts say China’s rising affect will probably be excessive on the agenda.

The two leaders will collect in Washington in what shall be the U.S. president’s first in-person summit with a international chief since his January inauguration. The assembly comes as the U.S. seeks to challenge China on points starting from human rights to unfair commerce practices.

“Rebuilding US alliances and competing with China are the core of Biden’s foreign policy. The in-person meeting with Suga signals that Japan is a linchpin of both efforts,” Jonathan Wood, director and lead U.S. analyst at consultancy Control Risks, informed CNBC in an e-mail.

Countering China’s Belt and Road Initiative

Biden and Suga are anticipated to focus on U.S.-Japan safety partnership and different potential areas of cooperation throughout their assembly. That might embrace local weather change, the Covid-19 pandemic and stability in the Taiwan Strait, stated analysts.

… the greatest manner for Washington to compete with Beijing’s financial affect in the Indo-Pacific is to supply a extra enticing growth possibility to international locations in the area.

One potential end result of the summit is an infrastructure plan specializing in high-quality tasks such as high-speed 5G web and clear vitality, Nikkei Asia reported last week.

Such a U.S.-Japan infrastructure cooperation might rival China’s massive Belt and Road Initiative, the report stated.

The Belt and Road Initiative is China’s formidable program to construct bodily and digital infrastructure that connects lots of of nations from Asia to the Middle East, Africa and Europe. Many critics contemplate it Chinese President Xi Jinping’s signature international coverage to develop his nation’s world affect.

“Establishing an alternative to China’s Belt and Road Initiative is important to Biden’s overall foreign policy agenda in the Indo-Pacific,” Neil Thomas, an analyst in danger consultancy Eurasia Group, informed CNBC by way of e-mail.

“That’s because the best way for Washington to compete with Beijing’s economic influence in the Indo-Pacific is to offer a more attractive development option to countries in the region,” he added.

Even earlier than he was elected as president, Biden had criticized China for financing dirty fossil fuel projects by way of the Belt and Road Initiative. He introduced up the risk of working with allies to supply different sources of financing for lower-carbon vitality tasks.   

Japan’s balancing act

Japan is a crucial U.S. ally in Asia, the place Chinese affect has grown over the previous couple of years.

The Biden administration has prioritized Japan in its diplomatic actions in Asia-Pacific.

Last month, Biden met virtually with leaders of the so-called Quad alliance, of which Japan is a member. Some analysts stated the casual strategic alliance — which incorporates the U.S., Australia and India — could possibly be a manner to counter China’s affect.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin additionally visited Tokyo to meet with their Japanese counterparts final month.

But Japan treads a wonderful line between the U.S. — its fundamental safety companion, and China — its largest financial companion. And the potential for the U.S. and Japan to change into nearer will not be misplaced on Beijing.

Last week, China’s State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his Japanese counterpart Toshimitsu Motegi in a cellphone name that “Japan should view China’s development with a more positive mentality.”   

Prior to Wang’s remarks, Beijing criticized the U.S.-Japan joint statement issued throughout Blinken and Austin’s go to to Tokyo. The assertion raised issues about Chinese conduct in Hong Kong, Xinjiang and the South China Sea that was “inconsistent with the existing international order.”

Beijing shot back, saying the statement “maliciously attacks” China’s international coverage and “flagrantly interferes” with its home affairs.

For Japan, “balancing between the US and China right now requires a precise understanding of the intention and scope of US measures,” stated Wood of Control Risks.

Eurasia Group’s Thomas stated Japan would cease in need of supporting U.S. place on human rights points and insurance policies to selectively “decouple” from the Chinese economic system.  

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