|Suga and Motegi showed eagerness to visit the United States in their respective telephone talks with Biden and Blinken in January, but such trips have not been realized due to the Biden administration's reluctance to accept foreign guests amid the coronavirus pandemic. (File photo by= Kyodo)|
[Asia News Communication = Reporter Reakkana] Japanese government sources said Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin plan to visit Japan from March 15 for a meeting with their Japanese counterparts, making it the first trip to the country by senior members of President Joe Biden's administration
Blinken and Austin plan to hold so-called two-plus-two talks with Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi during the visit through March 17, to further strengthen the bilateral alliance, they said. The country last held a two-plus-two meeting in Washington in April 2019. Blinken and Austin will also hold one-on-one talks with Motegi and Kishi, respectively, and meet Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, the sources said.
Japan seeks to boost its alliance with the U.S. as China increases assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region, including around the Tokyo-administered Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. Blinken said Wednesday in his first major foreign policy speech since becoming Washington's top diplomat that dealing with China will be "the biggest geopolitical test" of this century and underscored the Biden administration's emphasis on alliances and multilateralism. The U.S. officials are also thinking of traveling to South Korea after their visit to Japan, the sources said.