Saturday, February 23, 2013
Abe, Obama Vow Closer Ties, Stand Firm On N Korea
WASHINGTON (Nikkei)--Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Barack Obama on Friday reaffirmed the importance of the Japan-U.S. alliance as the linchpin of regional stability in a summit meeting held at the White House.
Speaking to reporters after the summit, Obama called the bilateral partnership a "central foundation" for the Asia-Pacific region and expressed confidence that the two nations can build stronger ties in a wide range of fields.
"I am confident to declare that the trust and the strong ties between the U.S. and Japan have been fully restored," Abe said. "By protecting national interests through a stronger alliance, we will make the world a better place," he added.
The prime minister promised that "Japan will respond calmly to" any situation involving the territorial dispute with China over the Senkaku Islands. He also noted the need for a regional framework governed by the rule of law rather than by power. "The Japan-U.S. alliance will facilitate the region's peace and stability," Abe said.
The two leaders agreed on the need to respond firmly to North Korea's nuclear and missile ambitions, as well as the importance of cooperation among Japan, the U.S. and South Korea in doing so.
They also agreed to work together in imposing additional sanctions on Pyongyang for its recent nuclear testing. Abe asked for U.S. help in bringing back Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea, and Obama promised his support.
On economic issues, Obama said both Japan and the U.S. must take steps to ensure continuous economic growth. The president said both leaders agreed to work toward growing the economy through trade expansion.
(The Nikkei, Feb. 23 online edition)