US, Japan to make ‘historic’ announcements at summit, including on defense and AI: Official

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When President Joe Biden hosts Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at the White House for an official visit Wednesday, a senior administration official tells ABC News the two countries will make “historic” announcements that will take the U.S.-Japan alliance to “new heights.”

This official said the leaders will unveil more than 70 programs and initiatives. Many of the announcements will focus on deepening defense ties, furthering cooperation between Japan and other allies, and new updates on Japan’s efforts to acquire Tomahawk land attack missiles from the U.S.

The summit is also expected to include steps that would allow the countries to work on joint development — and potentially co-production — of vital military and defense equipment, according to Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell in remarks last week.

There will also be new cooperation in space, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and climate change, the official said.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida shakes hands with President Joe Biden during a joint press conference at Camp David, August 18, 2023.

Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters, FILE

Ukraine and Gaza on the agenda

The leaders are expected to discuss a wide range of topics, including the wars in Ukraine and Gaza.

The visit underscores how the mutual threat from China, North Korea and Russia are driving these two allies even closer together. The two countries want to deter China and prepare for any conflict that could emerge. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has made Japan more worried about China trying to move on Taiwan.

A state visit is a huge honor, and it signals to the world how close the relationship is and marks milestones in the relationship.

PHOTO: President of the Philippines Ferdinand R Marcos Jr delivers statements to the media at Parliament House in Canberra, February 29, 2024.

President of the Philippines Ferdinand R Marcos Jr delivers statements to the media at Parliament House in Canberra, February 29, 2024.

Alex Ellinghausen/Sydney Morning Herald via Getty Images

Philippines president to join summit

On Thursday, the Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will join the two leaders for a summit.

The senior official said it’s important for these leaders to be standing “shoulder-to-shoulder” at a time when the Philippines is facing “extraordinary pressure” from China in the South China Sea, with China engaging in “really dangerous and unlawful tactics over the course of the last many months.”

PHOTO: Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida attends a group interview in Tokyo, Japan April 5, 2024.

Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida attends a group interview in Tokyo, Japan April 5, 2024.

Kim Kyung-hoon/Reuters

How did the state visit come about?

Prime Minister Kishida and President Biden have met nearly a dozen times since Kishida took office about two and a half years ago. The official says they “have a very warm personal and working relationship.”

The official added that Biden and national security adviser Jake Sullivan expressed interest in hosting Kishida after the president saw him at Camp David for the historic trilateral summit last August with the U.S., Japan, and South Korea.

The president, the official said, felt “strongly” about wanting to “honor a friend” who has shown “courage” in resolving past tensions with North Korea, stepping up support to Ukraine, and someone who has been “bucking a lot of conventions” in Japanese politics and foreign policy, the official said.

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