News / Asia

Obama Holds Trilateral Talks With Japan, S. Korea

President Barack Obama meets with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (r) and South Korean President Park Geun-hye, March 25, 2014, at the US Ambassador's Residence in the Hague, Netherlands.
President Barack Obama meets with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (r) and South Korean President Park Geun-hye, March 25, 2014, at the US Ambassador's Residence in the Hague, Netherlands.
VOA News
The leaders of Japan and South Korea have met for trilateral discussions with U.S. President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the international nuclear conference in The Hague.

Before the meeting started Tuesday, Obama said deepening coordination among Washington, Tokyo and Seoul, including “military cooperation that includes joint exercises," is vital to dealing with North Korea.

“Over the last five years, close coordination between our three countries succeeded in changing the game with North Korea and our trilateral cooperation has sent a strong signal to Pyongyang that its provocations and threats will be met with a unified response, and that the U.S. commitment to the security of both Japan and the Republic of Korea is unwavering," he said.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe both agreed that a united response is very important when dealing with the threat of North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

Relations between the two U.S. allies have been strained in recent years and this was the first formal meeting between South Korea's president and Japan's prime minister.

The United States has been urging Tokyo and Seoul to reduce tensions over historical disputes and focus on issues of common interest, such as North Korea's nuclear program.

Sung-Yoon Lee, a Korean studies professor at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, said the U.S. is used to its role as peace broker between Seoul and Tokyo.

"Well, the United States has found itself once again in the role of trying to be an intermediary between its two allies in northeast Asia.  And this is not a new role for the United States, even though it is frustrating for the U.S.  This kind of role playing by the U.S., it goes back to the Korean War; the exigencies of the war in 1950 created the need for the United States to bring Japan and South Korea together," said Lee.

Jang Yong-seok, senior researcher at Seoul National University’s Institute for Peace and Unification Studies, describes the meeting in The Hague as a chance to improve cooperation on North Korea's nuclear program.

“There has been lack of coordination among South Korea, the U.S., and Japan on the North Korean nuclear issue as diplomatic efforts to resolve the issue are in a deadlock. This meeting will provide an opportunity to restore coordination and enhance cooperation among the three parties to resolve the nuclear issue," said Yong-seok.

Ben Rhodes, Obama's deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, told reporters Friday that this trilateral meeting would be an important session.

"We believe this is a very important message to show the United States aligned with our two most important allies in northeast Asia. It's a signal of our commitment to the security of northeast Asia and our belief that when the United States and our allies stand together, we are much stronger in the region and in the world," said Rhodes.

Last week, South Korea said the talks Tuesday would not include the contentious issue of so-called "comfort women," who were used by Japan's military as sex slaves during World War II. Seoul said the two sides were in consultations over holding lower-level meetings on the issue.

President Park has repeatedly refused offers to hold a bilateral summit with Abe, citing Japan's refusal to apologize again for crimes committed during its colonization of Korea from 1910 to 1945, and Japan's use of Korean women as sex slaves.  

Tokyo is pointing to numerous apologies the Japanese government has already made, and a 1965 agreement that normalized relations and included a large payment to Seoul.  

South Korea, along with China, protested Abe's December visit to a controversial war shrine. It also criticized Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga in February when he said the government would re-examine the testimonies of former comfort women that were used as the basis of a 1993 apology.

Abe this month promised to honor Tokyo's previous apologies over its colonial past, including the 1993 statement by then-chief cabinet secretary Yohei Kono.

Kono gave a speech about his investigation of 16 comfort women.  In the speech, he admitted that during World War II, Japan pressed many comfort women into service.  He then expressed an apology and self-reflection. Since then, the speech has come to be known as the “Kono Statement.”

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Korean service.

You May Like

French Refugee Drama Wins Cannes Top Prize

Dheepan is about a group of Sri Lankan refugees who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country for a housing project in France More

Photogallery Crisis in Macedonia Requires Meaningful and Swift Measures

The international community has called on Macedonian leadership to take concrete measures in support of democracy in order to exit the crisis More

Activists: IS Executes 217 Civilians, Soldiers Near Palmyra

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday said the victims include nurses, women, children and Syrian government fighters More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Shintaro Sakamoto from: Japan
March 25, 2014 11:38 PM
”This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Korean service.”

Where is VOA Japanese service?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmakingi
X
Bernard Shusman
May 24, 2015 2:55 PM
According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.
Video

Video Effort Underway to Limit Damage from California Oil Spill

Cleanup crews are working around the clock to remove oil from the waters off the coastal city of Santa Barbara, in California. About 380,000 liters of oil may have leaked out before a rupture in an onshore, underground pipeline was discovered Tuesday. The environmental disaster hit the popular West Coast resort area before the Memorial Day weekend. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports investigators have yet to determine what caused the incident.

VOA Blogs