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Joe Biden arrives in Hiroshima for G-7 talks overshadowed by the debt limit crisis

President Biden on Thursday said the Group of Seven nations faces one of the most complex security environments in recent history, but he’s “proud that the United States and Japan are facing it together” as he kicked off an abbreviated Asia trip by sitting down with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

Mr. Biden started the bilateral meeting in Mr. Kishida’s hometown of Hiroshima by thanking him for his stewardship of the G-7 this year and repeating his commitment to a “free and open Indo-Pacific.”

He also said Ukraine will be front and center as the seven wealthy economies meet over the weekend.

“We stand up for the shared values including supporting the people of Ukraine as they defend their sovereign territory and holding Russia accountable for its brutal aggression,” Mr. Biden said.

Mr. Kishida said the relationship between Japan and the U.S. — which dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese host city at the close of World War II — has “evolved by leaps and bounds” and demonstrated “strong cooperation in all areas.”

He said Micron, an American computer company, is doing research in Hiroshima, and Japan is planning for a global startup campus in Tokyo in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Mr. Biden pointed to deepening cooperation at universities and within the quantum computing and semiconductor industries.

“I want to thank you for Japan’s commitment to increase investment in these areas,” Mr. Biden said. “The bottom line Mr. Prime Minister is that when our countries stand together, we stand stronger, and I believe the whole world is safer when we do.”

Mr. Biden, seated between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, at one point mistakenly referred to Mr. Kishida as “Mr. President.”

Mr. Biden is meeting with the leaders of the seven largest global economies to discuss a unified approach to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, dealing with Chinese aggression and other topics, though fears of a U.S. debt default threaten to overshadow the talks.

He had initially scheduled a weeklong three-nation trip that included stops in Papua New Guinea and Australia after the G-7 meeting in Japan. He scrapped those visits and announced he’d return to Washington and resume debt ceiling negotiations with congressional leaders.

The White House said Deputy Chief of Staff Bruce Reed is traveling with Mr. Biden because he has been a key player in negotiations with Congress and will be updating the president on the status of the talks.

During the trip, Mr. Biden stopped at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, and was greeted with loud applause from about 400 American and Japanese troops gathered inside.

The president walked along the barricade to shake hands and take selfies with the troops before getting in the helicopter for Hiroshima.

• Jeff Mordock contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2023 The Washington Times, LLC.

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