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Biden's statements require clarification from the White House

Biden's statements require clarification from the White House

US President Joe Biden has left the White House in need of clarification with an ambiguous statement about G7 ally Japan. “You know, one of the reasons our economy is growing is because of you and many others,” Biden said at a campaign rally. “Because we welcome immigrants. (…) Why is China so far behind economically? Why do Japan have problems? Why Russia? Why India? Because they are foreigners. They don't want immigrants,” Biden said Wednesday evening (local time) at an event in the US capital, Washington. Japan is a relatively low-immigration country.

The United States and Japan are close partners and form a group of leading Western industrialized nations (G7) along with Germany, Italy, France, Great Britain and Canada. It was only in April that Biden welcomed Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on a state visit.

The US has a close relationship with India and last summer Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was a state guest in Washington. Biden has been trying to counter China's desire for power in the region and has therefore pushed for partnerships with other countries such as India.

On Thursday, after Biden's comments, a White House spokesman was peppered with questions from reporters about what Biden really meant. “Xenophobia is a very pejorative and negative word, especially when used against an ally. Did he mean that?” asked a journalist. The spokesman responded: “I think the president has made himself very clear.” She was later interrupted by the journalist: “He didn't express himself very clearly. That's why we're asking.”

The spokesperson explained Biden's comments as follows: “He talked about who we are as a country, right? He talked about the importance of immigrants living in the country. That's what makes America strong, and that's what Biden wanted to convey.

He emphasized that the US relationship with Japan was important. “It's a deep, lasting relationship.” Biden's statements at the campaign event were of a more general nature.