News / Asia

    Obama Praises 'Strong' Ties with Japan at Start of Visit

    • President Barack Obama speaks to military troops at Fort Bonifacio, saying a new military pact signed with the Philippines on Monday, April 27 granting a larger presence for U.S. forces would bolster the region's maritime security, Manila, April 29, 2014.
    • President Barack Obama states during a joint news conference with President Benigno Aquino III, that a 10-year agreement signed Monday, April 27, will give the U.S. military greater access to Philippine bases, helping to promote peace and stability in the region, Malacanang Palace, Manila, April 28, 2014. 



       
    • Police use a water cannon on "Bayan Muna" (My Country First) activists who tried to march to the U.S. embassy protesting President Barack Obama's visit, Manila April 29, 2014. 
    • The tail section of Air Force One is pictured on the tarmac at Elmendorf Air Force Base outside Anchorage, Alaska, as President Barack Obama stayed onboard during a refuel stop on his return to the United States from Asia, April 29, 2014. 
    • U.S. President Barack Obama waves to the media upon arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, Philippines, April 28, 2014.
    • U.S. President Barack Obama, center, stands to speak as he attends a state dinner with Philippine President Benigno Aquino III at Malacanang Palace in Manila, Philippines, April 28, 2014.
    • Philippine activists pull barbed wire fence as they try to go near the Malacanang Palace during a rally to oppose the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement between the Philippines and U.S., Manila, Philippines, April 28, 2014.
    • An activist holds a protest sign near the Malacanang Palace in Manila, Philippines, April 28, 2014.
    • President Barack Obama is welcomed by South Korean President Park Geun-hye at the Blue House in Seoul, April 25, 2014.
    • President Barack Obama and Japan's Empress Michiko attend a welcome ceremony at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, April 24, 2014.
    • President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shake hands at the conclusion of their joint news conference at the Akasaka State Guest House in Tokyo, April 24, 2014.
    • President Barack Obama and ASIMO, an acronym for Advanced Step in Innovative MObility, bow to each other during a youth science event at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo, April 24, 2014.
    President Obama's Trip to Asia
    Luis Ramirez
    U.S. President Barack Obama has arrived in Japan for a weeklong tour of Asia. The visit aims to reassure allies who are nervous about U.S. defense cutbacks as China moves to expand its influence in the region.  

    Security concerns over China's territorial claims and North Korea's nuclear program will be a major focus of President Obama's trip, which includes stops in Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

    President Obama began the first full day of his state visit to Japan Thursday with a call on Emperor Akihito at the Imperial Palace.

    Obama was greeted at the park-like complex by a military honor guard, and children holding U.S. and Japanese flags. The president also had a private meeting with the emperor.

    The eight-day tour began in Tokyo with a meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

    At the start of their summit, Obama said it is important the United States and Japan work together to deal with "regional hot spots around the globe" and to ensure "a strong set of rules that govern the international order."

    It was nearly three years ago that the Obama administration announced what it called the "Asia pivot." The term described a shift in foreign policy focus to Asia as the administration concluded wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
     
    But Asian allies have seen few U.S. military resources shifted to the region as the United States makes defense cuts, all while China builds up its military and pushes to gain control of more of the East and South China Seas.

    China is not one of the stops on the trip, but is on the minds of Obama and his Japanese allies, who are locked in a territorial dispute with Beijing over a group of small islands in the East China Sea.
     
    FILE - A group of disputed islands, Uotsuri island (top), Minamikojima (bottom) and Kitakojima, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China is seen in the East China Sea, in this photo taken by Kyodo September 2012.FILE - A group of disputed islands, Uotsuri island (top), Minamikojima (bottom) and Kitakojima, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China is seen in the East China Sea, in this photo taken by Kyodo September 2012.
    x
    FILE - A group of disputed islands, Uotsuri island (top), Minamikojima (bottom) and Kitakojima, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China is seen in the East China Sea, in this photo taken by Kyodo September 2012.
    FILE - A group of disputed islands, Uotsuri island (top), Minamikojima (bottom) and Kitakojima, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China is seen in the East China Sea, in this photo taken by Kyodo September 2012.
    Those islands, known in Japan as the Senkaku and in China as the Diaoyu, are at the heart of Japan's concerns about the U.S. commitment to defend Japan.  

    The United States says it will not take sides in the dispute. But prior to landing in Tokyo, President Obama told the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun the islands fall under the U.S. mutual defense treaty with Japan, indicating the United States would defend Japan if China attacks and tries to take the islands by force. Obama said the United States opposes unilateral attempts to undermine Japan's administration of the islands.
     
    • President Barack Obama speaks to military troops at Fort Bonifacio, saying a new military pact signed with the Philippines on Monday, April 27 granting a larger presence for U.S. forces would bolster the region's maritime security, Manila, April 29, 2014.
    • President Barack Obama states during a joint news conference with President Benigno Aquino III, that a 10-year agreement signed Monday, April 27, will give the U.S. military greater access to Philippine bases, helping to promote peace and stability in the region, Malacanang Palace, Manila, April 28, 2014. 



       
    • Police use a water cannon on "Bayan Muna" (My Country First) activists who tried to march to the U.S. embassy protesting President Barack Obama's visit, Manila April 29, 2014. 
    • The tail section of Air Force One is pictured on the tarmac at Elmendorf Air Force Base outside Anchorage, Alaska, as President Barack Obama stayed onboard during a refuel stop on his return to the United States from Asia, April 29, 2014. 
    • U.S. President Barack Obama waves to the media upon arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, Philippines, April 28, 2014.
    • U.S. President Barack Obama, center, stands to speak as he attends a state dinner with Philippine President Benigno Aquino III at Malacanang Palace in Manila, Philippines, April 28, 2014.
    • Philippine activists pull barbed wire fence as they try to go near the Malacanang Palace during a rally to oppose the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement between the Philippines and U.S., Manila, Philippines, April 28, 2014.
    • An activist holds a protest sign near the Malacanang Palace in Manila, Philippines, April 28, 2014.
    • President Barack Obama is welcomed by South Korean President Park Geun-hye at the Blue House in Seoul, April 25, 2014.
    • President Barack Obama and Japan's Empress Michiko attend a welcome ceremony at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, April 24, 2014.
    • President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shake hands at the conclusion of their joint news conference at the Akasaka State Guest House in Tokyo, April 24, 2014.
    • President Barack Obama and ASIMO, an acronym for Advanced Step in Innovative MObility, bow to each other during a youth science event at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo, April 24, 2014.

    Speaking to reporters last Friday, National Security Advisor Susan Rice said the president's visit is an opportunity to underscore his continued focus on the Asia Pacific region, and to show the U.S. remains committed to the region's security.

    “Whether it ought to be viewed as a containment of China, I would say this trip has a very positive, affirmative agenda and that is how we are looking at it," Rice said, "as an opportunity to solidify and modernize our alliances and partnerships; as an opportunity to advance our economic agenda.”
     
    Obama's Tokyo visit late Wednesday aims to reassure Japan the U.S. pivot is on track.
     
    Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
    x
    Click to enlarge
    Click to enlarge
    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he wants to strengthen the Japan-U.S. alliance so it can contribute to peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.
     
    President Obama is also trying to help ease a strain in relations between Japan and South Korea over atrocities committed by Japanese forces against Koreans in the first part of the 20th century. U.S. officials believe the historical disputes are distracting from current security threats such as North Korea. 
     
    South Korea is the next stop for President Obama, who will also travel to Malaysia and the Philippines.
     
    The president had originally scheduled this visit last year, but cancelled it due to the government shutdown that resulted from a federal budget crisis.

    WATCH: Interview with Ahn Ho-young Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the United States on President Obama's trip to Asia
     
    Ambassador Ahn Ho-young Interviewi
    X
    April 23, 2014 2:25 PM
    The Honorable Ahn Ho-young, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the United States talks to VOA about President Barack Obama's visit to Asia.

    You May Like

    Leaving Scalia Replacement to 2017 Would Mean Unusually Long Vacancy

    History of high court shows Obama not in unique situation during final year of presidency

    US Fact Checkers Debunk Some Republican Presidential Candidate Claims 

    Slim evidence for several claims made by Republican presidential candidates at their last debate ahead of next Saturday's key nominating election in South Carolina

    Uganda Presidential Debate a Small Victory for Democracy

    In homes and bars across country, Ugandans were fixated on their screens as eight political candidates running for president took part in national debate

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Anonymous
    April 23, 2014 9:11 PM
    What will Abama bring in Asia? Forces or Wars? Asian needs peace,economy. Asian can settle its disputes by talk without America. What America leaders most talks in Asia are pivotal,forces ,threats. We can not agree with Abama's stand on Diaoyu island.

    by: Komachimiraku from: Japan
    April 23, 2014 9:08 PM
    It's a good thing for Asian people to hear President Obama's saying that USA will defend Senkaku islands if China takes a military action.
    The most important deterrent against China's ambition toward Pacific Ocean is USA's pivot in this region. President Obama's clear statement regarding this issue will contribute to the East and South Asia's peace.

    by: AAR from: Global
    April 23, 2014 1:15 PM
    President Obama is at least guilty of bad timing..........first he announces this misguided "Asia Pivot" alarming the Chinese and the North Koreans and freeing up enemies elsewhere to act as the USA repositions forces to the far east......Of course the US wants out of the middle east......but how do you ignore Ukraine, Mali, Somalia, Yemen, Qatar, Venezuela and Mexico and Brazil...while you court places like Phillipines and China and Vietnam and Malaysia? This policy is a failure.....What to do in Libya and Egypt Israel and the Turks? How do you pivot out of this global mess?

    by: meanbill from: USA
    April 23, 2014 11:23 AM
    ONE must wonder _ when China said; "China has suffered over a hundred years of humiliation by "Unequal Treaties" forced upon them by the US, Europe, Russia, and Japan _ and now, they will never ever give up one inch of "the motherland" again? -- ONE must wonder if China is making promises they won't keep, or should other countries who want to take that "one inch" of the "claimed" motherland, be wary of what China promised?

    NATO possesses unmatched naval sea and air power _ but they have yet to show, that their ground troops can ever "win" a ground war? -- and for NATO to launch an attack on China, is like NATO being able to launch an attack now on Russia in Ukraine, and the NATO logistical problems for them doing it, is unfathomable? -- (and one must wonder, how many NATO countries would opt-out of attacking Russia or China?)..

    by: lucy from: china
    April 23, 2014 8:53 AM
    this is not the right time for china to take military actions over what is happening between washington and tokyo. when china has got enough strong and wealthy, those currently undermining chinese interests will be punished severely.
    In Response

    by: Lomayani from: Tanzania
    April 23, 2014 10:25 AM
    All human being in the universe needs exactly what the Chinese,the Japanese,the African, the Americans,the Europeans needs.It's wise to talk about about the Universe and how will everyone benefit,as there is no one to punish!I am thankful that Air have no borders and no one can claim ownership!

    by: kalyanaraman s from: chennai India
    April 23, 2014 1:39 AM
    Suggest Pres Obama meet Lee Kuan Yew, the 1st PM of Singapore who is a great statesman, and have an interaction with him.
    In Response

    by: Shintaro Sakamoto from: Japan
    April 23, 2014 7:55 AM
    It's nice idea. I wish to recommend him, too.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Ugandai
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    February 12, 2016 9:29 PM
    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video Refugees in Kenya Vie to Compete in Rio Olympics

    In Kenya, refugees from other African nations are training at a special camp and competing for a limited number of slots in this year's Rio Olympics under the flag of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Ngong, this is a first in Olympic history.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.