Global Affairs

US-Japan ties: Recalibrating an old alliance

The two allies are regrouping around managing specific security threats, as they face common challenges with China

US President Joe Biden and Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, on April 16, 2021.PHOTO: AFP

Japanese prime ministers are establishing a tradition of being the first to meet a newly elected United States president. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was the first head of government to be received by Mr Donald Trump, very soon after the latter won the 2016 US presidential election. And now it was the turn of Mr Yoshihide Suga, Mr Abe's successor, to be the first official state guest received in the White House by President Joe Biden.

But in many respects, the latest US-Japan summit is far more consequential. For, while the first Abe-Trump encounter took place at Mr Abe's initiative well before then US President-elect Trump even stepped into the White House, the latest Suga-Biden summit took place after careful preparation and coordination by both sides and is the result of a clear and well-stated set of policy objectives.

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