TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Thursday he spoke with U.S. President-elect Joe Biden by telephone and confirmed the importance of bilateral ties, as well as a “free and open Indo-Pacific” region.
Speaking to reporters at the prime minister’s official residence shortly after the call, Suga also said the two leaders agreed to meet in person as soon as possible.
“President-elect Biden said that he looks forward to strengthening the U.S.-Japan alliance and working together on achieving a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Suga said to reporters, in separate comments made at the Prime Minister’s Office.
China’s growing military and economic assertiveness in the region serves as a backdrop for Japan’s hopes to see Biden’s presidency restore a strong U.S.-Japan alliance.
Suga also said he plans on working with Biden on preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus and battling climate change.
(Reporting by Sakura Murakami; Writing by Chang-Ran Kim; Editing by Chris Reese and Kim Coghill)