Biden to host Japanese prime minister for talks on April 16

 Biden to host Japanese prime minister for talks on April 16
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President BidenJoe BidenPressure grows for breakthrough in Biden agenda talks State school board leaves national association saying they called parents domestic terrorists Sunday shows preview: Supply chain crisis threaten holiday sales; uncertainty over whether US can sustain nationwide downward trend in COVID-19 cases MORE will host the prime minister of Japan at the White House on April 16, the White House said Friday.

The April 16 meeting will be the first official state visit Biden has hosted since assuming the office of the presidency in late January.

“This will be our first in-person visit from a foreign leader in the Biden-Harris administration, reflecting the importance we place on our bilateral relationship with Japan and our friendship and partnership with the Japanese people,” White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiPressure grows for breakthrough in Biden agenda talks Sunday shows preview: Supply chain crisis threaten holiday sales; uncertainty over whether US can sustain nationwide downward trend in COVID-19 cases Biden giving stiff-arm to press interviews MORE told reporters Friday afternoon. 

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Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato also confirmed the news to reporters, according to The Associated Press.

The White House announced the planned visit in March, but a specific date had not been set.

“That by itself is proof that the United States places importance on Japan,” Kato said. ”It is also significant as we demonstrate the strength of the Japan-U.S. alliance and the U.S. commitment to engage in the Indo-Pacific region.”

“We had been arranging [a visit by Suga] in the earlier half of April, but the date is set on April 16, as we aim to take all possible measures to ensure the success of the prime minister’s U.S. visit and preparations for it,” Kato said.

Japan is eager to strengthen its relationship with the United States, the AP noted, especially on matters related to China and the Korean peninsula.

In a joint statement issued last month during diplomatic meetings with his Japanese counterparts, U.S. Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenUS rejoining UN Human Rights Council; what it should do first Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by ExxonMobil — Biden administration breaks down climate finance roadmap Obama to attend Glasgow climate summit MORE said the two countries intend to push back on alleged human rights abuses and other aggressions by the Chinese government. 

“We will push back, if necessary, when China uses coercion or aggression to get its way,” Blinken said.

Updated: 1 p.m.