During their late Friday press conference President Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga - who is the first foreign leader to visit the White House of the new administration - issued a joint statement lashing out a China for actions that "are inconsistent with the international rules-based order" and impact "peace and prosperity" in the region. Thus it appears the lengthy pressure campaign by the administration to get Suga to agree to sign off on a muscular joint statement aimed at China, particularly at a moment of soaring tensions over Taiwan, paid off.
Included in the White House statement is the following: "We also recognize the importance of deterrence to maintain peace and stability in the region. We oppose any unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the East China Sea. We reiterated our objections to China’s unlawful maritime claims and activities in the South China Sea and reaffirmed our strong shared interest in a free and open South China Sea governed by international law, in which freedom of navigation and overflight are guaranteed, consistent with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea."
And further on Taiwan specifically the statement added, "We underscore the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and encourage the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues."
The Friday statement also said, "The United States restated its unwavering support for Japan’s defense under the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security, using its full range of capabilities, including nuclear."
"Japan resolved to bolster its own national defense capabilities… The United States restated its unwavering support for Japan’s defense… using its full range of capabilities, including nuclear," it underscored.
"The last Japanese and US leaders to mention Taiwan in a joint statement were Eisaku Sato and Richard Nixon in 1969."— Samuel (@Samuel1763) April 14, 2021
US pushes Japan to back Taiwan at Biden-Suga summit - https://t.co/QNhKuY9eeE via @FT
As expected this has riled Beijing, which responded with fierce rhetoric of its own, with China's embassy in the United States saying in the end both Japan and the US will end up "harming themselves"...
The remarks have "completely gone beyond the scope of the normal development of bilateral relations", harming the interests of third parties as well as peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific, the embassy said.
The move was an attempt to split the region that "will inevitably proceed with the purpose of harming others and end in harming themselves", it added.
The embassy further repeated that the statement encourages separatist activities on the island that it's long claimed as belonging to the mainland while interfering in China's affairs, as echoed in reporting by state-run CGTN news channel.
Up until the late Friday afternoon White House presser, many Japanese officials were earlier said to be deeply concern that a joint Taiwan statement with Biden would unnecessarily antagonize China but with no immediate strategic gains. They see the recent statements issued during the visit of Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to Japan as enough. That prior statement had emphasized the "importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait."