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Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga stressed on Sunday the significance of Japan and the United States working closely to defuse tensions over Taiwan.

“It is important for Japan and the United States to work together and maintain deterrence to create an environment in which Taiwan and China can find a peaceful solution,” Suga said on a television program.

The situation over Taiwan is “important for Japan,” he added.

Taiwan issues are expected to be on the agenda at the summit meeting between Suga and U.S. President Joe Biden to be held in Washington on April 16.

Within the Biden administration, concerns are growing over a possible Chinese invasion of Taiwan, which Beijing regards as a renegade province.

Suga declined to give a clear answer to a question as to whether a contingency surrounding Taiwan would be declared to be a situation that jeopardizes the existence of Japan under the national security laws. Such a situation would enable Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense.

Asked whether Japan will follow in the footsteps of the United States and European countries to impose sanctions against China over its alleged human rights abuses in the Xinjiang Uighur autonomous region, the prime minister said only that Japan wants Beijing to honor freedom, basic human rights and rules-based action in the international community.

On a proposal to create a Japanese version of the Magnitsky Act, a U.S. law that imposes sanctions against individuals and groups that have committed human rights violations, Suga said the government will consider it by looking at the whole picture.

At the upcoming bilateral summit, Suga and Biden are expected to reaffirm cooperation on climate change.

Referring to a climate change summit to be hosted by Biden in late April to which Chinese President Xi Jinping has been invited, Suga said he hopes his talks with Biden will play a leading role for the climate change summit.

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