Biden welcomes Japan’s prime minister as China watches

WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — President Joe Biden is welcoming Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Shuga to the White House for his first face-to-face meeting with a foreign leader Friday. It comes after Chinese officials are threatening the countries not to get in China’s way.

For Biden and Suga, “our approach to China and our shared coordination and cooperation on that front will be part of the discussion,” press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday. The two will discuss other regional security issues, including North Korea’s nuclear program.

Biden and Suga will hold a press conference Friday at 4 p.m. EDT. NewsNation will livestream the conference in the player above and on the NewsNation Now app

But Friday morning, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told reporters, including the Associated Press that China will be watching closely.

“China has no objection to the development of normal bilateral relations between Japan and the United States, but such relations should help enhance mutual understanding and trust among regional countries and contribute to peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, and should not target or harm the interests of third parties,” Zhao said.

A top Chinese diplomat also called U.S. policy on China “too negative,” Friday, saying it highlights confrontation over cooperation.

Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Le Yucheng said cooperation could be critically important as U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration focuses on COVID-19 and economic recovery.

Le told The Associated Press in an interview that the two countries could tide over many difficulties by working together. He said the emphasis on competition and confrontation lacks a forward-looking spirit.

But the vice minister added that cooperation needs to be on an equal basis and should not be “one side drawing up a laundry list or demands to the other side.”

Biden and Yoshihide appear to be walking close to the line on at least one issue. Reuters reports the two leaders are planning the countries’ first joint statement about Taiwan since 1969.

Taiwan is independently ruled, but China claims it. There have been increasing tensions between that government and Beijing.

Yoshihide will also discuss Japanese alternatives to reliance on Chinese supply chains, and working with the United States to develop 5G mobile technology. The Trump administration banned American investment in Huawei over concerns that China’s government could access data collected on Americans.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.