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U.S. President Joe Biden sough to present a united front with Japan against China's assertiveness on Friday, as he hosted Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga at the White House.
The talks were dominated by China's increased military movements near Taiwan, as well as its tightening grip on Hong Kong and its crackdown on Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang.
"Today, Prime Minister Suga and I affirmed our ironclad support for U.S.-Japanese alliance and for our shared security. We committed to working together to take on the challenges from China and on issues like the East China Sea, the South China Sea, as well as North Korea, to ensure a future of a free and open Indo-Pacific."
The summit came just days after China sent 25 aircraft, including fighters and nuclear-capable bombers, near Taiwan, a democratic island which Beijing claims as its own.
A joint statement released by the leaders after the meeting made direct reference to the need for peace and stability in the Taiwan strait.
Suga also underscored the importance of engaging in frank dialogue with Beijing.
"We also had serious talks on China's influence over the peace and prosperity of the Pacific and the world at large. We agreed to oppose any attempts to change the status quo by force or collusion in the East and South China seas and intimidation of others in the region."
The two leaders also agreed to work on the development of 5G communication technologies to prevent one of China’s leading companies, Huawei, from dominating the global market.
They also announced plans to jointly invest in artificial intelligence and semiconductor supply chains.
This was the first in-person meeting Biden has had with a foreign leader and underscores his administration's commitment to a foreign policy focused towards East Asia.
It also shows his desire to revitalise the U.S. alliances that frayed under his Republican predecessor Donald Trump.