Biden meets with the Japanese emperor at the beginning of the visit to launch the regional economic plan

TOKYO: US President Joe Biden, in Japan to launch a regional economic plan to counter China and reaffirm ties with a key Asian ally, began his visit on Monday (May 23) by meeting with Emperor Naruhito .

The cornerstone of Biden’s two-day visit, which includes meetings with the leaders of Japan, India and Australia, the “Quad,” will be the launch later Monday of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, a comprehensive plan that provides an economic pillar for its commitment to Asia.

Biden arrived at the palace, where he was greeted by Naruhito, and the two exchanged greetings before being ushered inside, both wearing white masks.

Biden’s call to the emperor will be followed by talks with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, in which the two nations are expected to discuss Japan’s plans to expand its military capabilities and reach in response to China’s growing might.

The two key allies are also expected to reconfirm their close ties in the face of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, agreeing that unilateral changes to the status quo by force are unacceptable.

Concerns are growing in Asia about an increasingly assertive China, particularly in light of its close ties to Russia, and tensions in particular have risen over Taiwan, which China considers a rogue province.

North Korea and regional issues will also be on the agenda, with Biden scheduled to meet later Monday with the families of Japanese people who were kidnapped years ago to train spies in North Korea.

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