U.S. inviting Abe, Xi for state visits

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WASHINGTON. KAZINFORM - The White House has invited the Japanese and Chinese leaders for state visits, while also hoping the leaders of South Korea and Indonesia can visit the United States this year, President Barack Obama's top foreign policy adviser said Friday.

"I'm pleased to announce today that we have invited Prime Minister (Shinzo) Abe of Japan and President Xi (Jinping) of China for state visits," National Security Adviser Susan Rice told an event in Washington. Rice did not elaborate further but Tokyo and Washington are trying to arrange the visit starting in late April or early May, according to sources familiar with the plan. Abe, who last visited the United States two years ago, would be likely to discuss with Obama issues such as an early conclusion of the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement, according to the sources. The Japanese and U.S. leaders are also likely to discuss strengthening the security alliance through the first revision since 1997 of guidelines on bilateral cooperation between the Japanese Self-Defense Forces and the U.S. military. Rice did not give any timeframe for a possible visit to the United States by Xi, who held a summit with Obama in California in June 2013. Bilateral ties between Japan and China have been strained due to differences over China's claim to Japan-administered islets in the East China Sea and Japan's attitude concerning its aggression toward China before and during World War II. Obama and other U.S. leaders have repeatedly urged Tokyo and Beijing to ease tensions by engaging in dialogue, saying that close cooperation between Japan and China is indispensible to peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region. Speaking at The Brookings Institution think tank, Rice also said, "We look forward to welcoming other Asian leaders to the White House this year," including South Korean President Park Geun Hye and Indonesian President Joko Widodo. Rice said there is no change in the Obama administration's policy of focusing on the Asia-Pacific region. Source: Kyodo

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