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In the face of a militarily and economically resurgent China, US President Joe Biden hosted Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio for a state visit on Wednesday and had an important discussion in the Oval Office, CNN said. This demonstrated Biden’s commitment to strengthening the essential cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.

Senior administration officials anticipate that as part of the bilateral meeting between Biden and Kishida, around 70 issues across a wide range of crucial areas would be announced.

These include a pledge to reorganise the US force structure in Japan to enhance the integration of US and Japanese forces, form a “military-industrial council” to assess opportunities for joint defence weapon production between the two nations to foster better cooperation, and implement measures to integrate anti-missile defence between the US, Australia, and Japan.

During a formal welcome ceremony, Biden declared, “Together, we made it closer, stronger, and more effective than ever before in history.”

He also acknowledged that Washington, DC’s 3,000 cherry trees, which bloom every spring, are a symbol of that partnership and were given by Japan more than a century ago. In 2026, Japan has pledged to plant 250 new trees along the Tidal Basin in observance of the US’s 250th birthday.

Biden recognised the “devastating” past shared by the United States and Japan. He visited the Hiroshima Peace Museum, which documents the massive devastation caused by the US atomic bomb in the city in 1945 during the final days of World War II, while in the city for a summit with G7 leaders last year.

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“Today” , Biden continued, “Our democracies are beacons of freedom shining across the globe.”

Along with outlining strategies to strengthen people-to-people ties in light of the recent decline in student exchanges between the two nations, the leaders are anticipated to discuss space collaboration at a time when Japan has expressed interest in sending its first astronaut to the moon. Being a non-American, the astronaut would be the first to step foot on the moon.

The officials listed a few of these collaborations, including an AI research project that Carnegie Mellon University and Keio University in Tokyo are working on together, as well as another AI-related collaboration between the University of Washington, Washington State, and Tsukuba University in Japan. Creating a scholarship to pay for high school will also fall under this category.

When asked about the company’s acquisition by Japan-based Nippon Steel, which at one point was among the most powerful firms in the world, during a joint news conference, Kishida referred to the USD 14.1 billion purchase as a “investment” in the United States.

“We hope these discussions will unfold in directions that would be positive for both sides,” Kishida stated. He did not, however, specifically answer whether or not the two leaders had discussed the transaction at an earlier-in-the-day private discussion.

During the press conference, which was Biden’s first in 2024, he reiterated his “commitment to American workers,” after having previously stated that it was “vital” that the business continue to be owned and run by Americans.

The meeting between Kishida and Biden will come later.

“We confirmed that unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion is absolutely unacceptable wherever it may be,” he stated.

According to the senior administration source, every item on the agenda is a part of a coordinated military, diplomatic, and strategic effort to try and “flip the script” and resist Chinese efforts to isolate American allies like the Philippines and Japan.

“The idea of switching to a multilateral, lattice-like strategic architecture is to flip the script and isolate China,” said the official.

Furthermore, as CNN reports, Japan has been in the forefront of Biden’s efforts to forge alliances in the Indo-Pacific because authorities there view Kishida as a willing partner who has drastically changed the nation’s defensive posture in recent years.

In order to improve the country’s ability to counterattack, Kishida purchased American Tomahawk missiles and pledged to raise defence spending by 2% of GDP by 2037.

According to a senior administration official, the president and national security adviser Jake Sullivan gave the transition team the assignment to seek out alliances and partnerships where they saw “extraordinary potential if only the United States turned back to it and reembraced it” prior to taking office.

“What we did was put together a strategy that was designed to help a wide range of allies and partners see pieces of themselves and their own objectives in our Indo-Pacific strategy,” said the official.

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