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

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened 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.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid