Biden to host Japanese prime minister for talks on April 16

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President Biden 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 Psaki told reporters Friday afternoon. 

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 Blinken 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.

Tags Antony Blinken Biden-Suga meeting Japan Japanese prime minister Jen Psaki Joe Biden State visit White House Yoshihide Suga

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