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Japan PM Abe seeks united line with Obama

Published on Feb 22, 2013 6:16 AM
 
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (centre) is greeted by US Chief of Protocol Capricia Marshall (left) as he arrives at Andrews Air Force base near Washington, on Feb 21, 2013. Mr Abe on Thursday starts a visit to the United States (US) in which he hopes to show a firm, unified line to an assertive China and a defiant North Korea. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Japan's new conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday starts a visit to the United States (US) in which he hopes to show a firm, unified line to an assertive China and a defiant North Korea.

Mr Abe holds his first meeting on Friday with President Barack Obama at a time of growing tensions between Japan and China, which is seen as challenging Tokyo's control over strategic islands, and days after a nuclear test by Pyongyang.

Fresh from a convincing December election victory and with high approval ratings, Mr Abe has taken small steps toward a harder Japanese stance including moving to step up military spending by the officially pacifist state.

Mr Danny Russel, Mr Obama's top advisor on Asia, said that the United States wanted a diplomatic solution to ease tensions but also reiterated a veiled warning to China over contested islands in the East China Sea.

 
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