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Biden to host Japanese PM for official state visit in April

President Joe Biden and first lady Dr. Jill Biden will host Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and his wife, Yuko Kishida, at the White House this April for an official state visit and state dinner, the White House announced Thursday.

“The visit will underscore the enduring strength of our alliance partnership, the unwavering U.S. commitment to Japan, and Japan’s increasing global leadership role,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement announcing the visit.

Jean-Pierre said Biden and Kishida will discuss “efforts to strengthen our political, security, economic, and people-to-people ties so that our alliance is postured to address evolving challenges and advance our shared vision for a free, open, secure, and prosperous Indo-Pacific region and world.”

The two leaders last met one-one-one during November’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in San Francisco, building on a historic trilateral summit with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol in August.

“This will obviously underscore the importance of our alliance with Japan and our bilateral relationship, and also all the work we’re doing together to improve and strengthen, not only our bilateral cooperation but our cooperation with Japan and other allies across the Indo-Pacific, really trying to pursue a safe and secure, prosperous Indo Pacific,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Air Force One Thursday.

April’s state dinner will mark the fifth state dinner of the Biden administration, an opportunity for the White House to treat the visiting country’s leader to pomp and circumstance with fine attention to diplomatic details.

Biden welcomed Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese for a state dinner in October as the crisis in the Middle East was increasingly becoming an all-consuming focus for the president and his team.

He invited Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the White House in June for a state visit in an era of growing tensions between the US and China and as India surpassed China to become the most populous country on Earth.

The president has also previously hosted French President Emmanuel Macron and South Korea’s Yoon.

The visit points to the administration’s continued engagement with Indo-Pacific nations as it seeks to counter China’s influence in the region.

Biden has visited Japan twice as president. He met in May with Kishida during a visit to Japan on the eve of the G7 Summit in Hiroshima, emphasizing close US-Japan relations at a time of China’s growing military and economic ambitions, as well as Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine.

Biden, who is the second US president to visit Hiroshima, pointed to deepening cooperation between the US and Japan on emerging technologies, including new partnerships on quantum computing and semiconductors.

He made his first presidential visit to Asia in 2022, where he met with Kishida, along with the leaders of India and Australia, and used Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to send a message to China that the US would be willing to respond militarily if the country invades the self-governing island of Taiwan.

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