US, Japanese officials discuss Abe's visit in April

Updated: 2015-03-18 09:33


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WASHINGTON - Senior US and Japanese officials on Tuesday discussed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to Washington next month.

In their meeting at the White House, US National Security Adviser Susan Rice told her Japanese counterpart Shotaro Yachi that President Barack Obama "looks forward to hosting Prime Minister Abe for an official visit next month," the first by a Japanese premier since 2006.

The White House, however, did not give an exact date for the trip.

Rice and Yachi also discussed bilateral cooperation on a range of bilateral, regional and global security issues, including in addressing Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs and maritime security in East Asia, White House National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said in a statement.

She said the pair cited progress being made in revising the guidelines for US-Japan defense cooperation, a move that is aimed at expanding the scope of cooperation between their forces by removing existing geographical limits and at ensuring a seamless response to emergencies.

Meehan said Rice also underscored the importance of "strong relations" between Japan and the Republic of Korea, as Tokyo-Seoul relations are strained over Japan's attempt to whitewash its wartime atrocities.