Japan welcomes new US Indo-Pacific economic initiative

May 19, 2022, 6:06 PM | Updated: May 20, 2022, 6:15 am
Noriyuki Shikata, cabinet secretary for public affairs of Kishida's government, gets introduced bef...

Noriyuki Shikata, cabinet secretary for public affairs of Kishida's government, gets introduced before he speaks in a news briefing in Tokyo, Friday, May 20, 2022. Japan welcomes the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), a new U.S. economic initiative for the Indo-Pacific region that President Biden is expected to roll out during his Tokyo visit next week. Shikata said IPEF is expected to focus more about supply chains, clean energy, worker standards and anti-corruption programs rather than issues in traditional trade agreements such as market access and tariffs. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)

(AP Photo/Hiro Komae)

TOKYO (AP) — Japan welcomes a new U.S. economic initiative for the Indo-Pacific that President Joe Biden is expected to roll out during a visit to Tokyo next week because it demonstrates American commitment to a regional economic order that is not just about market access, an official said Friday.

Biden is proposing the new Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, or IPEF, as an alternative to the Trans-Pacific Partnership which the United States dropped out of in 2017 under former President Donald Trump. Japan played a key role in bringing together the other 11 members of that pact, now known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

While details of the new initiative are still to be discussed in Tokyo, Japan has already expressed its support and says it is considering joining.

Noriyuki Shikata, Cabinet secretary for public affairs, said the IPEF is expected to focus more on supply chains and economic security than on issues in traditional trade agreements such as market access and tariffs.

“My understanding is that IPEF and TPP are different,” Shikata said at a news conference in Tokyo.

“Japan still wishes to see the U.S. come back to the TPP, and the reason we say so is because TPP and IPEF are different,” he said. “We are hoping this IPEF will lead to … a more proactive engagement of the United States in the Indo-Pacific economic order.”

The U.S. government has been trying to engage more with countries in the region. The framework, which was only announced Tuesday, is still in its early stages and further details are unclear.

Shikata said it was not known if IPEF will be discussed during the Quad summit, a four-nation regional security framework Tokyo is hosting Tuesday, when leaders from Australia and India will join Japan and the United States.

South Korea, under new President Yoon Suk Yeol, who is more willing to build closer ties with Tokyo and Washington, is also seen as interested in joining the Quad.

Asked about that possibility, Shikata said: “The Quad means four countries and we don’t have any plans to change that name. So at this time we are focused on promoting practical cooperation among the four countries.”

The four Quad nations share concerns over China’s growing assertiveness in the region and its increasingly capable armed forces, and stress the importance of a “free and open” Indo-Pacific to strengthen a free, democratic and rules-based order in the region.

China views the grouping as a part of a U.S.-led push to impede its economic and political rise. On Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi criticized what he called negative moves by Washington and Tokyo against Beijing during a video call with Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi.

Shikata said it’s not a grouping directed against any country.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Dutch farmers block entrances to supermarket warehouses

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Dutch farmers angry at government plans to slash emissions used tractors and trucks Monday to blockade supermarket distribution centers, the latest actions in a summer of discontent in the country’s lucrative agricultural sector. The Netherlands’ busiest aviation hub, Schiphol Airport, urged travelers to use public transport to get to its […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Iran TV: Sandstorm shuts offices, schools in Tehran, region

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Schools and government offices closed in Iran’s capital and several other cities in the country on Monday, after yet another sandstorm blanketed Tehran and the surrounding region. State-run TV warned of poor air quality and advised the elderly, those sick and children to take precautions. Banks and the Tehran Stock Exchange […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Canadian government: Tycoon in China due to stand trial

BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese-born Canadian tycoon is being put on trial in China, Canada’s government said Monday, five years after he vanished from Hong Kong during an anti-corruption crackdown. Xiao Jianhua was due to stand trial Monday, a government statement said. It said Canadian diplomats were “monitoring this case closely” and provided unspecified services […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Data puts Turkey’s annual inflation at 78.6%, a 24-year high

ISTANBUL (AP) — Annual inflation in Turkey hit 78.62% in June, the highest rate since 1998, according to official data released Monday. The Turkish Statistical Institute, or TurkStat, released the monthly figures as Turkey is experiencing a deepening cost-of-living crisis. Consumer prices rose by 4.95% on a monthly basis, the institute reported. While many countries […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Russia tries to press its offensive into Ukraine’s east

POKROVSK, Ukraine (AP) — Russian forces tried Monday to press their offensive deeper into eastern Ukraine after taking control of a key stronghold. The Ukrainian military confirmed that its forces had withdrawn from the city of Lysychansk, the last bulwark of Ukrainian resistance in the Luhansk province, one of the two regions that make up […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Outages disrupt services at Japan’s No. 2 telecoms carrier

TOKYO (AP) — Many users of Japan’s No. 2 mobile carrier KDDI Corp. were still having trouble making calls Monday after a massive outage throughout the weekend that affected nearly 40 million people, disrupting deliveries, weather reports and other services across the country. The company said data transmission had largely been restored by Monday morning, […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
...

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Japan welcomes new US Indo-Pacific economic initiative