Archive for April 19th, 2012
Politics Apr. 18, 2012 – WASHINGTON —
U.S. President Barack Obama will host Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda in Washington on April 30, for their first meeting since North Korea’s rocket launch, the White House said Tuesday.
Obama wants to address a “wide range of bilateral, regional and global issues, including the U.S.-Japan security alliance, economic and trade issues, and deepening bilateral cooperation,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said.
“The two leaders will also discuss regional and global security concerns,” Carney said in a statement—with North Korea’s rocket launch likely high on that agenda.
The April 30 meeting will be the second one-on-one talks between the two leaders, and the first at the White House. Noda took office in August 2011.
The last meeting took place in September last year on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly meeting in New York, in which both were taking part.
North Korea claimed its rocket launch last week was to put a satellite into orbit as part of celebrations to mark the centennial of the birth of the country’s founder Kim Il-Sung, as his young grandson Kim Jong-Un takes the reins of power.
The United States and its allies, however, said it was a disguised long-range ballistic missile test banned under UN resolutions.
The test ended in failure, with the rocket disintegrating in mid-air soon after blast-off and plunging into the sea in a major embarrassment for the reclusive state.
And the U.N. Security Council responded by tightening sanctions on Pyongyang, warning of new action if the isolated state stages a nuclear test.
The United States and Japan are both party to long-stalled six-way negotiations on ending Pyongyang’s nuclear drive, along with China, Russia, and the two Koreas.
Carney said after the launch that Washington “remains vigilant in the face of North Korean provocations, and is fully committed to the security of our allies in the region.”
The United States also confirmed it would not go forward with an already suspended deal to send food aid to North Korea.
Japan and the United States have differed on Iran, upon which Washington has imposed crippling economic sanctions over its suspect nuclear program. But last month, the Pacific allies came to a compromise.
Noda has said Tokyo would strive to reduce its oil imports from the Islamic republic, while the United States last month said it was exempting Japan and some European Union members from tough new sanctions aimed at Tehran.
The United States has also pressed Japan on child abductions, urging it to sign the 1980 Hague treaty that requires countries to return children to the countries where they usually live.
Japanese courts virtually never award custody to foreign parents, especially men, and authorities have never returned overseas a child snatched to Japan.
U.S. parents have pursued more than 120 cases to seek access to their half-Japanese children.
Under growing foreign pressure, leaders in Tokyo have voiced support for signing the Hague convention, but it would only apply to future cases.
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