News / Asia

Obama, Japanese PM Focus on North Korea, Maritime Issues

President Barack Obama shakes hands with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the end of their meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Feb. 22, 2013.President Barack Obama shakes hands with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the end of their meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Feb. 22, 2013.
President Barack Obama shakes hands with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the end of their meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Feb. 22, 2013.
President Barack Obama shakes hands with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the end of their meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Feb. 22, 2013.
Meredith Buel
President Barack Obama and Japan’s new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have pledged a strong response to North Korea’s recent nuclear test. The two leaders met Friday at the White House, where they also discussed economic issues.

The president and Prime Minister Abe agreed to pursue additional economic sanctions against North Korea following that country’s nuclear test and missile launches.

During a speech following the meeting, Abe said such actions by North Korea cannot be accepted.

“Their nuclear ambition should not be tolerated. Unless they give up developing a nuclear arsenal, missile technologies and release all the Japanese citizens they abducted, my government will give them no reward," he said.

Abe said the U.S.-Japan alliance in the Pacific is a stabilizing factor and could be helpful in settling Japan’s dispute with China over the Senkaku islands in the East China Sea.

The Japanese prime minister had strong words for the Chinese government.

"We simply cannot tolerate any challenge now, and in the future. No nation should make any miscalculation about the firmness of our resolve. No one should ever doubt the robustness of the Japan-U.S. alliance. At the same time, I have absolutely no intention to climb up the escalation ladder."

Abe began his second term as prime minister in December. He campaigned, in part, on a pledge of closer relations with the United States amid perceived threats from China's territorial claims.

Obama said he and the prime minister spent much of their meeting discussing ways to boost economic growth, which he called their number-one priority.

“…and steps that we can take in our respective countries to encourage the kind of trade, expanded commerce and robust growth that will lead to greater opportunity for both the United States and Japan,” said Obama.

The U.S. and Japanese leaders also discussed the question of Japan joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a new U.S.-led free trade group.

Speaking through a translator, Abe said he will discuss the proposal with his political coalition when he returns to Tokyo.

“And based on that, whether to decide to take part in the negotiation, it should be left to the government and we would like the parties concerned to leave this to us,” he said.

Abe is Japan’s fifth prime minister since Obama took office in 2009.

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Comment Sorting
by: jianhua from: China
February 25, 2013 1:38 AM
Any false words to tarnish China are a flog dead horse.because China never provokes otheres unless it is invaded! besides it , China has not unified yet, Only from this point , it shows that China is a peaceful country. by the way, so many little countries such as Filipino Vietnames occupy so many islands of China in the South China Sea, if Amercan is China, the United States will tolerate them, won't they ? In my opion, Amercan would destroy them by forces so early!
In Response

February 26, 2013 6:30 AM
Living nextdoor to a big and aggressive neighbour like China all that the Vietnamese have ever wanted was to be left alone to get on with their lives,let alone thinking about grabbing Chinese lands.It has always been China that has been stealing lands from their smaller neighbours and now claims to try to get back something they never had or lost.If you know history,all southern China including Hainan Island,used to belong to the Vietnamese,then how could South China Sea belong to ancient China when it wasn't even near the sea?

Have you ever wondered why the Cantonese language is known as Yue,English translation for Viet? Because the ancestors of the Southern Chinese are Vietnamese.Got it! America should have left you rot under Japanese rule,then we wouldn't have had all these territorial problems now

February 24, 2013 8:13 AM
Economic sanctions against North Korea would never work as long as they still receive China's full support.The North Korean regime would have survived without China's economic and military aids.How do we deal with constant territorial threats from China? They have always resorted all kinds of tactical and dirty tricks to help asserting their illegal sovereignty over lands and seas that never belong to them in the first place.The US navy should show permanent presence in East China Sea and South China Sea as an indication to China and their allies that these are international waters and China should not take the laws into their own hands and seize these areas by force and America would not tolerate any such provocations.How do we prevent the Chinese marine surveillance ships from harassing and attacking innocent Vietnamese and Filipino fishermen going about their jobs in their own waters? Actions speak louder than words ! Mr Obama and Mr Abe should do something positive to send the right signal to the hawks in Beijing

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