US President George W. Bush was to host Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe yesterday for talks on pariah state North Korea, Tokyo's ever bolder global role and maybe even the leaders' shared love of baseball.
During two days of meetings, the White House hopes the leaders will build on a strategic relationship that grew under Abe's predecessor, Junichiro Koizumi, one of Bush's closest international allies and staunchest backers of the war in Iraq.
"We are like-minded democracies pursuing a common agenda and, again, that transcends whether it's prime minister Koizumi or Prime Minister Abe," said Dennis Wilder, the US National Security Council's top East Asia hand.
"We see Japan as our greatest strategic partner in East Asia, and an increasingly indispensable global partner," Wilder told reporters on Wednesday in a preview of the trip, Abe's first visit here since taking office last year.
Abe left Japan yesterday for the US Andrews Air Force base near Washington.
"The Japan-US alliance is the cornerstone of Japan's diplomacy and national security and as unshakable, irreplaceable allies, we need to build a firm relationship of trust," he told reporters before leaving.
Wilder said Bush would reassure Abe during their talks at the White House and the Camp David presidential retreat about efforts to convince North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program.
Abe has also said he will press Bush on Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea, amid worries in Tokyo that Washington may remove Pyongyang from its list of terrorism sponsors before the deeply emotional issue is resolved.
"We aren't going to de-link the abductee issue from the state sponsor of terrorism issue," Wilder said.
Japan has refused to fund an international deal to supply North Korea with energy in exchange for its nuclear disarmament unless there is progress on the abduction issue.
Bush also hopes the summit with Abe will "develop their personal relationship further," Wilder said.
Bush and Abe will also discuss Tokyo's increasingly bold global role and may touch on World War II era disputes roiling Japan's relations with its neighbors.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
An Italian alpine resort on Friday remained on high alert over fears that a vast chunk of a glacier on the slopes of the Mont Blanc massif could plummet in high temperatures. “No one gets through! No cars, bikes or pedestrians,” was the message at a checkpoint where an automatic barrier and two guards blocked the small road snaking up into a lush valley below the Planpincieux glacier, near the town of Courmayeur and the Italian-French border. The blockade has largely been greeted with contempt by the locals, one of whom said: “It’s a joke.” The huge ice block measuring around 500,000 cubic
BEYOND CULTURE: The US State Department was expected to announce that the Chinese government-funded institutes would have to register as foreign missions US President Donald Trump’s administration is increasing scrutiny of a long-established Chinese-government funded program that is dedicated to teaching Chinese language and culture in the US and other nations, the latest escalation of tensions with Beijing. The US Department of State was expected to announce as soon as yesterday that Confucius Institutes in the US — many of which are based on college campuses — would have to register as “foreign missions,” according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified. The designation would amount to a conclusion that the institutes are “substantially owned or effectively controlled” by