Tokyo, The Gulf Observer: Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said he has been invited by U.S. President Joe Biden to make a state visit early next year, an announcement made as the two countries step up cooperation bilaterally and trilaterally with South Korea in the face of increasing security challenges in Asia.
Kishida disclosed Biden’s invitation after they held talks in San Francisco on the sidelines of an annual Asia-Pacific economic summit.
The leaders discussed their respective diplomatic engagements with China and agreed to continue close coordination, according to the two governments.
The meeting, also touching on the Israel-Hamas war, took place a day after Biden held about four hours of discussions with Chinese President Xi Jinping, which covered a long list of contentious geopolitical and economic issues.
The last time Kishida visited the United States was in August, when Biden hosted a three-way summit with him and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol at the Camp David presidential retreat near Washington.
Biden described Japan and South Korea as “capable and indispensable” allies during a press conference after the summit, adding they had agreed to bring trilateral defense cooperation to “unprecedented levels.”
Biden hosted Yoon for a state visit in April this year to mark the 70th anniversary of the alliance between their countries. His state visit was the first by a South Korean leader since 2011.
During their meeting, Kishida and Biden agreed to work closely in dealing with issues related to China, based on the results of the U.S.-China summit on Wednesday, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said. It quoted the prime minister as telling the president the Japan-U.S. alliance is “more important than ever.”
Kishida met with Biden for about 15 minutes just before holding his own talks with Xi on Thursday.
The White House said Biden and Kishida reaffirmed the importance of maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, in the East and South China seas, and on the Korean Peninsula.
Kishida and Biden condemned the attack on Israel by the militant group Hamas in October, which sparked the ongoing war in the Gaza Strip, and agreed to work together to improve the humanitarian situation in the Palestinian territory, the ministry and the White House said.
They said the leaders also confirmed strong support for Ukraine in its conflict with Russia, when they met on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum summit.