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Mar 17, 11:37 PM EDT

Japanese Prime Minister Abe to visit US next month

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AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (shin-zoh ah-bay) will meet at the White House next month.

The date was not immediately announced.

Susan Rice, Obama's national security adviser, had previously announced that Abe is one of two Asian leaders who will make a state visit to the U.S. this year. On Tuesday, as Rice met with the secretary general of Japan's National Security Secretariat, the White House says she noted that Obama is looking forward to hosting Abe in April.

The president visited Abe in Tokyo last April.

Obama has placed a premium on deepening U.S. relations with Asia's fast-growing and populous countries.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (shee jihn-peeng) will also make a state visit to the U.S. this year.

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