News / Asia

Obama Set for Trilateral Talks With Japan, S. Korea

China's President Xi Jinping, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, U.S. President Barack Obama, Netherlands' P.M. Mark Rutte, Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev and South Korea's President Park Geun-hye (L-R) take part in a photo with other world leaders at the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague, March 25, 2014.
China's President Xi Jinping, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, U.S. President Barack Obama, Netherlands' P.M. Mark Rutte, Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev and South Korea's President Park Geun-hye (L-R) take part in a photo with other world leaders at the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague, March 25, 2014.
The leaders of Japan and South Korea are set for a trilateral meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama on the sidelines of an international nuclear conference in The Hague. The discussion is expected to focus on North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

The meeting is noteworthy because relations between the two U.S. allies have been strained in recent years and this will be the first formal meeting between South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

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

Sung-Yoon Lee, 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 Sung-Yoon.

Jang Yong-seok, Senior Researcher at Seoul National University’s Institute for Peace and Unification Studies, said the meeting in The Hague is 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.”

Ben Rhodes, Obama's deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, told reporters Friday that this trilateral meeting will 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," he said.

South Korea last week said the talks Tuesday will 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, though, over holding lower-level meetings on the issue.

Park repeatedly has 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 during World War II.  

Tokyo is pointing to numerous apologies the Japanese government already has 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.

However, 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

China’s Influence Grows With New Infrastructure Bank

Multibillion-dollar China-backed and BRICS-supported Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank seen as possible challenger to such lenders as IMF, World Bank More

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

Rabbi Michel Serfaty makes the rounds in his friendship bus to encourage dialogue and break down barriers between the two groups More

Post-deal Iran Leaders Need 'Economic Momentum' to Solidify Power Base

Economists say deal could inject more than $100 billion into coffers - not enough to entirely rescue ailing economy - but maybe adequate to create 'economic momentum' More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
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.
US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impacti
X
Michael Bowman
June 28, 2015 10:05 PM
Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Chemical-Sniffing Technology Fights Australia's Graffiti Vandals

Cities and towns all over the world spend huge amounts of resources battling graffiti writers who deface buildings, public transport vehicles and even monuments. Authorities in Sydney, Australia, hope a new chemical-sniffing technology finally will stop vandals from scribbling on walls in the passenger areas of commuter trains. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Cambodia Struggling to Curb Child Labor

Earlier this year a United Nations report found 10 percent of Cambodian children aged 7-14 are working – one of the highest rates in the region – and said one in four children in that age bracket are forced to quit school to help their families. Although the child labor rate has dropped over the past decade, Cambodia has a lot more to do – including keeping more children in school. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.

VOA Blogs