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Suga to join Biden in leading efforts to tackle climate change

Suga to join Biden in leading efforts to tackle climate change

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Sunday he will closely cooperate with U.S. President Joe Biden in leading global efforts to tackle climate change.

The two leaders are scheduled to meet in Washington on April 16, while the White House said last month that Biden invited 40 world leaders to a virtual climate summit he will host on April 22 and 23.

Suga has pledged to make Japan carbon neutral by 2050. "I would like to jointly lead (such efforts with the United States)," he told a television program.

He also said he is hoping to confirm at the meeting with Biden that their countries will cooperate in addressing the past abductions of Japanese citizens by North Korea.

The abductions are "the most important issue for my administration. I want the president to understand it so that Japan and the United States can cooperate firmly," he said.

The bilateral summit comes as the Biden administration ramps up criticism of China's treatment of the Muslim Uyghur minority in the Xinjiang region and actions concerning Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Suga said human rights violations in Xinjiang and Hong Kong must be addressed based on universal values, freedom and basic human rights rules.

To ensure peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, he said, "It is important that Japan and the United States, while maintaining deterrence, collaborate and create an environment where Taiwan and China can solve the issue peacefully."

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