President Joe Biden is set to hold a private meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on May 18 ahead of the G-7 leaders’ summit in Hiroshima, Japan, the White House has confirmed.
Biden is currently in Hiroshima, Kishida’s home city, for the summit that will be attended by leaders from France, the UK, Germany, Japan, Italy, and Canada.
“The President will start his engagements in Hiroshima with a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Kishida, where they will review the really quite extraordinary progress in the alliance over the course of the past two years, building on the trip that President Kishida made to Washington in January,” Jake Sullivan, the White House national security adviser, told reporters aboard Air Force One on May 17.
Sullivan noted that Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine will be a significant topic of conversation between the two leaders.
“There will be discussions about the state of play on the battlefield,” he said. “There will be discussions about the state of play on sanctions and the steps that the G-7 will collectively commit to on enforcement in particular, making sure that we are shutting down evasion networks, closing loopholes in the sanctions so that the impact is amplified and magnified in the months ahead. ”
Sullivan said discussions between the two leaders will also touch on the subject of reconstruction and economic and humanitarian support to Ukraine, as well as “how to set the appropriate conditions with progress on the battlefield shaping progress at an eventual negotiating table if and when Ukraine is prepared to do that down the road.”
Supply chains and clean energy are also topics that will be discussed between Biden and Kishida in the private meeting, he said, as will the common concerns associated with the growing threat from China, which has declared a “friendship without limits” with Russia.
Debt Ceiling Negotiations Continue
“And I think you will see, coming out of this summit, alignment, and convergence around the fundamental principles of our approach to the People’s Republic of China,” Sullivan said of the G-7 leaders’ meeting.
The G-7 summit will take place from May 19 to 21.
Biden’s latest trip to Japan marks his second since taking office in 2021.
The meeting comes amid a looming U.S. government default as Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) remain in a deadlock over raising the nation’s $31.4 trillion debt ceiling.
Amid growing criticism from lawmakers, Biden on Wednesday defended the meeting and said he remains optimistic that the country won’t default on its financial obligations for the first time in history.
“America is not a deadbeat nation. We pay our bills. The nation has never defaulted on its debt, and it never will. And we’re going to continue these discussions with congressional leaders in the coming days until we reach an agreement,” the president told reporters at the White House.
Biden added that he and McCarthy had held a “productive meeting” a day prior with all four leaders of Congress to discuss the default issue.
The president has appointed Steve Ricchetti, one of his longest-serving advisers, and Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young to lead negotiations regarding the debt ceiling on his behalf.
They will join Louisa Terrell, White House director of the Office of Legislative Affairs, in working on the issue.
McCarthy told reporters on Tuesday that he believes it’s possible “to get a deal by the end of the week” adding that “it’s not that difficult to get to an agreement.”
Biden is scheduled to leave Japan on May 21 and is set to hold a press conference on the debt ceiling on his return to Washington.
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