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White House Does Damage Control After Biden Calls Japan and India “Xenophobic”



Biden Administration Plans for Potential Presidential Transition

President Joe Biden has labeled Japan and India as “xenophobic” countries that do not welcome immigrants, lumping the two alongside enemies China and Russia as he attempted to explain their economic circumstances and contrasted the four with the United States on immigration.

The remarks, made at a campaign fundraiser Wednesday evening, came just three weeks after the White House hosted Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida for a lavish official visit, during which the two leaders celebrated what Biden called a “unbreakable alliance,” particularly on global security issues.

The White House welcomed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a state visit last summer.

Japan is a vital US ally. India, one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, is an important partner in the Indo-Pacific, despite disparities on human rights.


AP According to Washington writer Sagar Meghani, President Biden has lumped together two critical allies and two rivals.

At a hotel event attended primarily by Asian Americans, Biden stated that the approaching presidential election was about “freedom, America, and democracy” and that the country’s economy was prospering “because of you and many others.”

“Why? “Because we welcome immigrants,” Biden explained. “Think about it. Why is China’s economy slowing so badly? Why is Japan facing trouble? Why is Russia? Why is India? Because they are xenophobic. “They do not want immigrants.”

The president continued, “Immigrants are what make us powerful. This is not a joke. That is not hyperbole; we have an influx of workers that want to be here and contribute.”

There was no quick response from the Japanese or Indian governments. White House national security spokesman John Kirby said Biden was making a broader statement about the United States’ immigration policy.

“Our allies and partners know well in tangible ways how President Biden values them, their friendship, their cooperation, and the capabilities that they bring across the spectrum on a range of issues, not just security-related,” Kirby said Thursday morning when asked about Biden’s “xenophobic” remarks. “They understand how much he completely and utterly values the idea of alliances and partnerships.”

Biden’s remarks occurred at the opening of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and he was introduced at the event by Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., one of two senators of Asian American origin. She is the national co-chair for his reelection campaign.

Japan has acknowledged its demographic decline, as the number of newborns born in the country in 2023 declined for the eighth consecutive year, according to figures released in February.

Kishida has referred to Japan’s low birth rate as “the biggest crisis Japan faces,” and the country has long been recognized for taking a more closed-door approach to immigration, however Kishida’s government has recently modified its policy to make it easier for foreign workers to come to Japan.

Meanwhile, India’s population has grown to become the world’s largest, with the United Nations predicting it will reach 1.425 billion. Its population is also predominantly youthful.

Earlier this year, India passed a new citizenship law that expedited naturalization for Hindus, Parsis, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, and Christians who fled Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. However, it excludes Muslims, who constitute the majority in all three countries. This is the first time India has established religious qualifications for citizenship.

John Kirby defended Biden’s remarks

John Kirby defended Biden's remarks

National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communication John Kirby defended Biden’s remarks: Getty Images

In a press briefing on Thursday, National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communication John Kirby defended Biden’s remarks.

“Look, I think the broader point the president was making, and I think people all around the world recognize this, is that the United States is a nation of immigrants and it’s in our DNA,” Kirby told reporters at the White House. “We are stronger for it. We are not going to walk away from this. And that’s the larger point he was making.

When asked why the president singled out two ally nations to illustrate his point, Kirby declined, emphasizing that Biden’s intention was to commend the United States rather than disparage Japan or India.

“I am making a wider argument about our country, our country. “Our allies understand how much the president respects them, values their friendship, and appreciates their contributions,” Kirby answered. “And you don’t have to look honestly very far, very hard to see that bear out in the things that we’ve been doing in the Indo-Pacific with Japan, South Korea, the Philippines.”

Source: AP

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North Korea Appears To Have Fired A Missile Into The Sea, Japan And South Korea Say




TOKYO — North Korea launched a missile into the sea on Monday, according to Japan and South Korea, just hours after announcing preparations to launch a rocket into space, reportedly carrying its second military reconnaissance satellite.

North Korea had previously informed Japan’s coast guard of its plans to launch “a satellite rocket” during a launch window from Monday to June 3.


Korea | News Arab Image

North Korea Appears To Have Fired A Missile Into The Sea, Japan And South Korea Say

Following North Korea’s launch, the Japanese Prime Minister’s Office canceled a missile alert for the island of Okinawa, stating that the missile was not considered to be headed for the region.

North Korea launched its first military reconnaissance satellite into orbit in November of last year as part of attempts to establish a space-based monitoring network to counter what it considers growing US-led military threats. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un later said at a governing party conference that the country would launch three more military spy satellites in 2024.


Korea | NDTV Image

North Korea Appears To Have Fired A Missile Into The Sea, Japan And South Korea Say

The United Nations prohibits North Korea from carrying out any satellite launches, perceiving them as cover for testing long-range missile technologies. North Korea has consistently claimed that it has the right to launch satellites and test missiles. Kim has stated that spy satellites will help his military to better observe US and South Korean military activity while also increasing the threat posed by its nuclear-capable missiles.


Korea | Japan Times Image

North Korea Appears To Have Fired A Missile Into The Sea, Japan And South Korea Say

North Korea provides Japan with launch information because the Japanese Coast Guard coordinates and disseminates maritime safety information throughout East Asia.


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China Has Threatened Trade With Some Countries After Feuds. They’re Calling ‘The Firm’ For Help



China | AP News Image

Washington — Business is adept at “the firm.”

The State Department’s eight-person team is leading Washington’s efforts to mitigate the economic consequences for China-targeted countries

It sprang from the scramble to assist Lithuania during a dispute with China over Taiwan two years ago. Today, “the firm” is assisting many governments in dealing with what diplomats call economic pressure emanating from Beijing.

Countries “knock on the door, they call,” Undersecretary of State Jose Fernandez said in a recent interview with The Associated Press. “We run a consulting firm that does not have to advertise for clients, as they come.”


China | AP news Image

China Has Threatened Trade With Some Countries After Feuds. They’re Calling ‘The Firm’ For Help

Led by State Department senior adviser Melanie Hart, the group assesses risks and creates responses for countries that are cut off or fear losing trade with global giant China. Fernandez said that since the group’s inception with Lithuania, more than a dozen countries have sought assistance from the Biden administration.

The attempt comes as Washington intensifies its campaign to counter China’s worldwide influence, as tensions between the rivals rise.

The Chinese Embassy in Washington rejected the claim that Beijing is exerting economic pressure on other countries, calling it “completely unfounded.” It claimed that the United States was bullying China economically by misusing export regulations, treating Chinese enterprises unfairly, and accusing Beijing of economic pressure.

According to Fernandez, China “uses this tactic repeatedly.” They believe intimidation works, which is why we engaged in it. It was time to put a stop to this.

For example, after a Norwegian jury awarded a Chinese dissident the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010, Beijing stopped purchasing salmon from Norway. Two years later, China blocked banana imports from the Philippines due to a territorial dispute in the South China Sea. In response to Australia’s request for a probe into the origins of the COVID-19 outbreak, Beijing raised duties on Australian barley and wines in 2020.

Then came Lithuania. Lithuanian enterprises’ cargo shipments to and from China were stalled in late 2021 and early 2022, and large European businesses warned them that Lithuanian-made auto parts would be prevented from entering the Chinese market.

That came when Lithuania allowed Taiwan’s de facto embassy in Vilnius to use the name Taiwan rather than Taipei, Taiwan’s capital city, as Beijing preferred. China considers the self-governed island to be part of its territory and has disputed Taiwan’s use.

Instead of caving in, the northern European country requested assistance. The United States and its allies stepped up.


China | AP News Image

China Has Threatened Trade With Some Countries After Feuds. They’re Calling ‘The Firm’ For Help

American diplomats sought new markets for Lithuanian products. The Export-Import Bank of Washington granted Vilnius $600 million in export credit, and the Pentagon inked a procurement arrangement with the country.

“The firm” persevered. The State Department serves as the first line of action and can cooperate with other U.S. agencies to access “every tool that the U.S. government has,” according to a department official who requested not to be named to disclose team details.

While it takes years to reorganize global supply chains to lessen dependency on nations like China, the team aims to provide a faster approach to alleviate a crisis, the official said, equating the team to ambulance services that “help you get past that scary emergency time.”

According to the official, the United States may strive to collaborate with partners to assist a country in quickly diverting agricultural exports to new markets, building more cold storage so products can reach further markets, or improving product quality to win admission into more markets.

The support is confidential, according to the person who declined to detail the instruments at the team’s disposal or identify the countries that have sought assistance.

Shay Wester, director of Asian economic affairs at the Asia Society Policy Institute, described it as “a significant and much-needed initiative.”

“China’s growing use of economic coercion to pressure countries over political disputes is a significant challenge that requires a concerted response,” said Wester, who co-authored an April paper on the subject.


China | Pixa Bay Image

China Has Threatened Trade With Some Countries After Feuds. They’re Calling ‘The Firm’ For Help

According to Wester, answers from other countries demonstrate a high demand for this type of support.

Lithuania organized a seminar on opposing economic pressure last month, and Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis stated that the action “is to crush the victims by forcing reversal and public renunciation of its policies.”

The Chinese Embassy’s spokesman, Liu Pengyu, stated that the problem with Lithuania was “political, not economic.” It was triggered by Lithuania’s poor faith actions, which harmed China’s interests, not by Chinese pressure on Lithuania.

Fernandez, who attended the summit, praised Lithuania for standing up to China. “Lithuania gave us the opportunity to prove that there were alternatives to the coercion,” he stated.


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Canada’s Trudeau Called Out for Failing to Meet NATO Commitment



Trudeau, Canada, NATO
Trudeau Called Out for Failing to Meet NATO Commitment: Getty Image

A bipartisan group of 23 senators in the United States has written to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, pressing his country to meet its promise to spend 2% of GDP on defense, amid fears that major NATO allies are not doing their part.

“As we approach the 2024 NATO Summit in Washington, D.C., we are concerned and profoundly disappointed that Canada’s most recent projection indicated that it will not reach its two percent commitment this decade,” the senators stated in their letter. “In 2029, Canada’s defense spending is estimated to rise to just 1.7 percent, five years after the agreed upon deadline of 2024 and still below the spending baseline.”

The unusual letter from lawmakers to a head of state comes just two months before NATO’s next annual meeting in Washington, DC, which will commemorate the alliance’s 75th anniversary as Russia’s war against Ukraine continues.

At last year’s leader-level conference, the allies decided that each member countries should devote at least 2% of its GDP to defense. The senators used the agreement to argue that Canada should follow through on its commitment.

Ted Cruz of Texas

US Senator Ted Cruz of Texas calls out Trudeau: Reuters Image

NATO will suffer

And senators, including Republicans Mitt Romney of Utah and Ted Cruz of Texas, as well as Democrats Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, cautioned that if Canada fails to meet its commitments, NATO will suffer.

“Canada will fail to meet its obligations to the Alliance, to the detriment of all NATO Allies and the free world, without immediate and meaningful action to increase defense spending,” the senators stated in their letter, CNN reports.

Canada is a founder member of the defense alliance, which currently has 32 members. The senators praised Canada’s efforts to NATO on a variety of fronts, including taking the lead in supporting its military operations and creating standards for democracy, economic resilience and human rights.

However, the senators also noted that many other countries are taking the required efforts to meet and exceed the 2% target.

“By the end of 2024, 18 NATO members will have achieved the Alliance’s goal of ensuring NATO’s ongoing military readiness. This is a historic investment in our collective security, spearheaded by NATO allies such as Poland, which has already spent more than three percent of its GDP on defense,” they said.

Canada has long been painted as a nation not carrying its weight

Canada has long been painted as a NATO nation not carrying its weight under Trudeau: Reuters Image

Trudeau has no plan to meet targets

On Thursday, Canadian Defense Minister Bill Blair reacted to the letter, saying that “Canada is on a very strong upward trajectory in defense spending,” adding that “we know we’ve got work to do.”

Blair did not provide a particular date for when the UK aims to meet its 2% objective. “Our job has begun, but there is a lot more to do. “It’s critical that we spend hard-earned Canadian taxpayer dollars wisely,” he stated.

Earlier this year, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stated that he expects Canada to “deliver on the pledge” or clarify preparations to meet the target budget. More than a dozen other NATO countries, including Canada have yet to meet the alliance’s aim.

The senators chose to write to Trudeau because, unlike other countries, Canada does not appear to have a plan in place to meet the target, according to a congressional aide. Under Trudeau’s leadership, Canada has long been portrayed as a country that isn’t doing its fair share to support NATO.

With the 75th anniversary of the 32-member alliance approaching, there appears to be renewed pressure on Canada to step up and join the 18 countries on track to fulfill the spending target by the end of the year.

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