Kishida eyes U.S. trip for talks with Biden in Jan.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida plans to visit the United States in January for talks with President Joe Biden, government sources said on Thursday, with deepening the bilateral security alliance expected to top the order. of the day.

The trip is scheduled for Jan. 7-9, or thereabouts, in what would be his first visit to Washington since he took office in October last year, the sources said.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks during a House of Councilors committee session in Tokyo on November 24, 2022. (Kyodo) == Kyodo

The Prime Minister is also planning a European tour in mid-January which would take him to the Swiss ski resort of Davos for an international economic forum, the sources added.

During talks with Biden, Kishida is expected to explain his government’s plan to “fundamentally” boost Japan’s defense capabilities and budget in hopes of deepening the alliance at a time of rising regional tensions, according to the sources.

The Kishida-Biden summit is expected to follow Japan’s planned revisions to its three key defense documents by the end of this year, including the National Security Strategy, which provides guidelines on the country’s long-term security. and diplomatic policy.

Tokyo and Washington also plan to hold “two plus two” security talks between their foreign and defense ministers in Washington in mid-January, the sources say.

Japan is seeking to strengthen security coordination with the United States and South Korea after North Korea fired ballistic missiles at an unprecedented rate, including an early October that flew over the Japanese archipelago for the first time. since 2017.

Tensions have also risen over Taiwan since China’s military staged massive drills around the self-governing democratic island following an August trip to Taipei by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the third highest official in the United States.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, who won an unprecedented third five-year term as head of the ruling Communist Party in October, has not ruled out the use of force to place Taiwan, which Beijing considers a renegade province, under his control.

Kishida also intends to call for Biden’s cooperation to make a success of the Group of Seven summit that Japan is to host in Hiroshima in May next year, the sources said.

Kishida is a lawmaker representing a constituency in the western Japanese city, which was devastated by the first US atomic bombing in the final days of World War II in 1945.

The Japanese and US leaders last had face-to-face talks on the sidelines of a series of Association of Southeast Asian Nations-related rallies in Cambodia earlier this month.

In Europe, Kishida is expected to deliver a speech on his economic policy at the Davos forum, while arranging visits to other G-7 countries, the sources said.

Leave a Comment