US invites Abe to visit Washington

US invites Abe to visit Washington
U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (R) at a joint news conference at the Akasaka Palace in Tokyo April 24, 2014.

WASHINGTON - US National Security Adviser Susan Rice announced Friday that the US government has invited Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to make an official visit to the United States within this year, during a lecture she gave in Washington.

The Japanese government is considering scheduling the visit during the Golden Week holiday period in May of this year. If the official visit does take place, it will be the first in nine years - since then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visit in 2006. In the visit, plans for strengthening Japan-US relations in broader fields such as security and economics are expected to be discussed.

In the speech, Rice also revealed that the US government has invited Chinese President Xi Jinping as a state guest later this year. South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Indonesian President Joko Widodo also plan to visit the United States this year, according to Rice.

The move aims to promote the Obama administration's so-called rebalance policy, which shifts priority to the Asia-Pacific region.

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