Japan PM Suga to leave for US for talks with Biden

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is set to depart for the US on Thursday for talks with President Joe Biden amid the Covid-19 pandemic and tension with China.

Suga is scheduled to hold a summit meeting with Biden at the White House on Friday, becoming the first foreign leader to meet in person with the new president, who was inaugurated in January, DPA news agency reported.

Suga wants the talks to be “productive”, he told reporters on Wednesday.

The two leaders want to show the strong ties of the Japan-US alliance and their commitment to the Indo-Pacific region, Tokyo said.

Suga and Biden are expected to discuss climate change, the Covid-19 pandemic, issues related to China and North Korea and cooperation toward a free and open Indo-Pacific region, the Japanese government said.

Tokyo has expressed concerns about a new Chinese law which allows Beijing’s coastguard to use weapons on foreign ships.

Chinese coastguard vessels were spotted near a group of uninhabited islets in the East China Sea every day in the past two months.

The Japanese-administered Senkaku Islands are also claimed by China and Taiwan, where they are known as Diaoyu and Tiaoyutai, respectively.