Japan drops plans for Biden visit in April: sources

The government backed out of plans to bring US President Joe Biden to Japan this month due to the Ukraine crisis and is now aiming to do so by the end of May, diplomatic sources said on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida offered a visit in late April, which would have been Biden’s first trip to the country as president, when they had a brief chat last month in Belgium where they attended a Group summit of the Seven and an emergency North Atlantic meeting. Organization of the Treaty.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (L) and U.S. President Joe Biden talk at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, March 24, 2022. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

Tokyo is seeking to have Kishida-Biden talks when it hosts a summit of the “Quad” group, which also involves Australia and India. Quad leaders have agreed to meet in Tokyo at the end of June.

The US side first sounded out Japan about Biden’s visit in late May, according to Japanese and US diplomatic sources. He then showed reluctance to accept Kishida’s proposal as the war in Ukraine made Biden’s schedule tight.

In Australia, a general election is due to be held by May, adding uncertainty to the timing of the Quad summit.

When Biden visits Japan, he could also visit South Korea, another ally in Asia, observers say. South Korean President-elect Yoon Suk Yeol is due to be sworn in on May 10.

The envisaged quadruple summit would be an opportunity for the four democracies to deepen cooperation in the fields of security and economy in the Indo-Pacific region where China’s influence has grown.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has also raised concerns about its ramifications for the region. The quad unit is likely to come into focus, as India also has close ties with Russia.