News / Asia

North Korea, Maritime Disputes, Key Topics in Obama-Abe Talks

Japan's PM Shinzo Abe (photo January 2013)
Japan's PM Shinzo Abe (photo January 2013)
President Barack Obama and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hold talks at the White House Friday.  They will focus on the U.S. - Japan alliance and regional security challenges, including North Korea and maritime tensions between Japan and China.

Friday's talks will be divided into two parts, one on regional security and global issues, and a working lunch dealing with economic issues.

The first round will cover maritime disputes in the East China Sea and South China Sea, including Japan's dispute with China over the Senkaku Islands.

International issues such as Iran, Afghanistan, events in North Africa and counter-terrorism are also on the agenda.

The two leaders discussed North Korea during a telephone conversation a week ago, pledging "significant actions" at the United Nations, and other steps.

Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes says Obama and Prime Minister Abe will discuss challenges posed by Pyongyang to the U.S. and its allies.

"As the president said in the State of the Union [address] our response to the North Korean nuclear test and its broader pattern of provocative acts must start with very firm U.S commitments to the security of our allies, Japan and South Korea.  It will have to include close coordination with Japan and South Korea," said Rhodes.

Rhodes said the response includes support and investment in missile defense, and international action at the United Nations Security Council, though he offered no further details.

Danny Russel, Senior Director for Asia on the National Security Council, says Obama wants an update on diplomatic efforts to prevent tensions between Tokyo and Beijing over the Senkakus from escalating.

"The president, I am sure, will value hearing the prime minister's assessment and will welcome any and all constructive steps to engage diplomatically and to manage the maritime situation in a way that prevents the risk of miscalculation," said Russel.

Nicholas Szechenyi is Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

"I think the most important point is that the United States really doesn't want to accept any efforts that would challenge Japan's control [of the islands] through coercion," said Szechenyi. "And I think that is the theme that has emerged in recent months."

Szechenyi expects Prime Minister Abe to reassure Obama of efforts to work with Beijing for a diplomatic solution to the dispute.

The Obama-Abe talks will include discussion of the still unresolved question of Japan joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a new U.S.-led free trade group.

The U.S. and Japan have been trying to resolve some outstanding bilateral trade sector issues that have blocked Japanese participation.

Mike Froman, Deputy National Security Adviser for International Economic Affairs addressed U.S. auto worker's concerns that Japan has not made enough progress opening its automobile sector.

"We take those concerns very seriously and we are in consultations with Japan over those issues," said Froman.

White House officials say President Obama has always placed a high priority on the U.S. relationship and alliance with Japan.

You May Like

Syrian Rebels Poised for Anti-Russia Collaboration

Forty-one insurgent groups issue joint statement vowing retaliation for Russian air offensives More

Political Maneuver Revives Export-Import Bank's Chances

Parliamentary tactic gets bill out of committee, but it faces opposition in the Senate More

Beijing Warns US on S. China Sea Patrols

Warning follows news reports Thursday that US military is planning to sail warships close to artificial islands Beijing has been aggressively building More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdrawsi
Jim Malone
October 09, 2015 12:32 AM
The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

VOA Blogs