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Biden to host Japan’s Kishida for state visit in April

President Biden will host Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida for a state visit this spring, part of U.S. efforts to strengthen relations in the region to counter China and push back against threats from North Korea.

The visit is expected to take place April 10, the White House said on Thursday, and it will be aimed at underscoring the importance of the U.S. alliance with Japan and strengthening bilateral cooperation.

“Japan is one of our closest allies in the whole world and a very critical alliance in the Indo-Pacific,” White House national security spokesperson John Kirby said in announcing the visit.

“I think you can expect to see a robust discussion about how we’re deepening our bilateral cooperation with Japan and improving our alliance capabilities across the board, but also how we’re working together across a range of other threats and challenges across the Indo-Pacific, that also includes improving trilateral cooperation with South Korea as well,” he added.

Kirby did not address whether Biden will discuss White House concerns over a deal by Japan’s Nippon Steel to purchase U.S. Steel.

Biden has tried to focus his administration’s efforts on strengthening U.S. ties in the Indo-Pacific, despite crises in Europe with Russia’s war in Ukraine and escalating conflict in the Middle East.

This includes administration officials working to ease historically tense ties between Japan and South Korea, hosting the two countries for a trilateral summit at Camp David last August. The president earlier hosted South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol for a state visit last April.

The Biden administration has highlighted strong ties with Tokyo as a key part of its strategy in Asia and on global priorities, including the support of Japan, a member of the Group of 7 nations, for Ukraine in its defensive war against Russia.

Biden also hosted the leaders of Australia in October and India in June. Those nations as well as the U.S. and Japan are members of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue grouping that is viewed as a priority alliance in pushing back against China’s influence in the Indo-Pacific.

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