Updated Apr 11, 2024 - World

Biden and Japanese PM forge closer ties to counter China in Pacific region

 President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden welcome Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and his wife Yuko Kishida to the White House for a state dinner on April 10, 2024 in Washington, DC.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and his wife, Yuko Kishida, are welcomed by President Biden and first lady Jill Biden at the White House for a state dinner on Wednesday, April 10 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

President Biden pledged Wednesday closer ties with Japan and the Philippines to counter China's increasing influence in the Pacific.

The big picture: Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced in D.C. new military, economic and other agreements ahead of their trilateral summit on Thursday with Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Zoom in: "This is the most significant upgrade of our alliance since it was first established," Biden said at a Wednesday afternoon news conference in the White House Rose Garden.

  • "For the first time, Japan and the United States and Australia will create a networked system of air, missile, and defense architecture."
  • Biden said the U.S. and Japan plan to hold a trilateral military exercise with the U.K., while the AUKUS defense partnership was exploring "how Japan can join our work in the second pillar, which focuses on advanced capabilities, including AI, autonomous systems."

What they're saying: Kishida said through a translator that the leaders "agreed that our two countries will continue to respond to challenges concerning China through close coordination."

  • He added: "At the same time, we confirmed the importance of continuing our dialogue with China."

Zoom out: During his U.S. visit, Kishida gifted 250 new cherry trees to D.C. in honor of the 250th anniversary of the United States in 2026. They'll help replace dozens of the trees that will be removed in a restoration project at the Tidal Basin.

  • Biden held a state dinner for Kishida on Wednesday evening, where President Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Apple CEO Tim Cook were among the guests.

In photos: Biden hosts Japanese PM for state visit

President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida toast each other during a state dinner in the East Room of the White House on April 10, 2024 in Washington, DC. Biden welcomed Kishida for an official state visit where the two leaders announced new agreements on technology and strengthening military and economic partnerships against Chinese aggression in the Indo-Pacific region.
Biden and Kishida toast each other during a state dinner in the East Room of the White House on April 10. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
American singer-songwriter Paul Simon performs as U.S. President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden host Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and his wife Yuko Kishida in the East Room of the White House on April 10, 2024 in Washington, DC. Biden welcomed Kishida for an official state visit where the two leaders announced new agreements on technology and strengthening military and economic partnerships against Chinese aggression in the Indo-Pacific region.
U.S. singer-songwriter Paul Simon performs in the East Room during the evening in honor of the Japanese prime minister on April 10. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
 President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida toast each other during a state dinner in the East Room of the White House on April 10, 2024 in Washington, DC. Biden welcomed Kishida for an official state visit where the two leaders announced new agreements on technology and strengthening military and economic partnerships against Chinese aggression in the Indo-Pacific region.
A general view of the East Room during the state dinner in honor of the Japanese prime minister on April 10. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
 Former U.S. President Bill Clinton (C) joins other guests for a state dinner in honor of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in the East Room of the White House for a state dinner on April 10, 2024 in Washington, DC. Biden welcomed Kishida for an official state visit where the two leaders announced new agreements on technology and strengthening military and economic partnerships against Chinese aggression in the Indo-Pacific region.
Former President Clinton (center) joins other guests for the state dinner on April 10. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Executive chairman of Amazon Jeff Bezos laughs as he attends a State dinner for Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and his wife Yuko Kishida in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, April 10, 2024.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos during the state dinner on April 10. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images
 Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff arrive at the White House for a state dinner on April 10, 2024 in Washington, DC. U.S. President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden are hosting a state dinner for Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida as part of his official state visit
Vice President Kamala Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff arrive at the White House for the state dinner on April 10. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images
 Singer Ayase of the Japanese superduo Yoasobi arrive at the White House for a state dinner on April 10, 2024 in Washington, DC. U.S. President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden are hosting a state dinner for Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida as part of his official state visit.
Singer Ayase, of the Japanese superduo Yoasobi, arrives at the White House for the state dinner on April 10. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images
Singer Lilas Ikuta of the Japanese superduo Yoasobi arrive at the White House for a state dinner on April 10, 2024 in Washington, DC. U.S. President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden are hosting a state dinner for Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida as part of his official state visit.
Singer Lilas Ikuta, of the Japanese superduo Yoasobi, arrives at the White House for the state dinner on April 10. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images
 Apple CEO Tim Cook and Apple Vice President Lisa Jackson arrive at the White House for a state dinner on April 10, 2024 in Washington, DC. U.S. President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden are hosting a state dinner for Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida as part of his official state visit.
Apple CEO Tim Cook and Apple vice president Lisa Jackson arrive at the White House for the state dinner on April 10. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images
Former US President Bill Clinton, center, and Hillary Clinton, former US secretary of state, right, arrive to attend a state dinner in honor of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida hosted by US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden at the White House in Washington, DC, US, on Wednesday, April 10, 2024.
Former President Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (right) arrive for the April 10 state dinner. Photo: Julia Nikhinson/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com Inc., right, and Lauren Sanchez arrive to attend a state dinner in honor of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida hosted by US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden at the White House in Washington, DC, US, on Wednesday, April 10, 2024.
Media personality Lauren Sanchez and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos arrive for the April 10 state dinner. Photo: Julia Nikhinson/Bloomberg via Getty Image
US actor Robert De Niro and his girlfriend Tiffany Chen arrive for a State Dinner in honor of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, at the Booksellers Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on April 10, 2024.
Martial arts instructor Tiffany Chen and actor Robert De Niro arrive for the state dinner on April 10. Photo: Drew Angerer/AFP via Getty Images
Wally Adeyemo, deputy US Treasury secretary, left, and Janet Yellen, US Treasury secretary, arrive to attend a state dinner in honor of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida hosted by US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden at the White House in Washington, DC, US, on Wednesday, April 10, 2024.
Deputy U.S. Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen arrive for the April 10 state dinner. Photo: Julia Nikhinson/Bloomberg via Getty Images
 President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden wait to welcome Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and his wife Yuko Kishida to the White House for a state dinner on April 10, 2024 in Washington, DC. Biden welcomed Kishida for an official state visit where the two leaders announced new agreements on technology and strengthening military and economic partnerships against Chinese aggression in the Indo-Pacific region.
The Bidens wait to welcome the Kishidas to the White House for the state dinner on April 10. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images
US President Joe Biden, center left, at an arrival ceremony with Fumio Kishida, Japan's prime minister, center right, during a state visit on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, US, on Wednesday, April 10, 2024. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida have enlisted Amazon.com Inc. and Nvidia Corp. to fund a new joint artificial intelligence research program, as the two nations look to improve collaboration around the quickly emerging technology.
Biden and Kishida on the South Lawn of the White House during the Japanese prime minister's arrival ceremony for his state visit. Photo: Haiyun Jiang/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty Images
President Joe Biden (R) and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida hold a joint press conference in the Rose Garden at the White House on April 10, 2024 in Washington, DC.
Kishida and Biden hold a joint press conference in the Rose Garden at the White House on April 10. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images
President Joe Biden (R) and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida leave the stage at the conclusion of an arrival ceremony at the White House on April 10, 2024 in Washington, DC. President Biden is hosting Prime Minister Kishida for an official state visit including a joint press conference and a state dinner.
Kishida and Biden leave the stage at the conclusion of an arrival ceremony at the White House on April 10. Photo: Andrew Harnik/Getty Images

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Editor's note: This article has been updated with more details on Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's U.S. visit and photos from the state dinner in his honor.

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