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

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid