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Obama brings US allies South Korea and Japan together for talks

Published on Mar 26, 2014 3:59 AM
US President Barack Obama holds a tri-lateral meeting with President Park Geun-hye of the South Korea (L) and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan (R) after the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague March 25, 2014.-- PHOTO: REUTERS

THE HAGUE (REUTERS) - US President Barack Obama brought together the leaders of Japan and South Korea on Tuesday for their first face-to-face talks, seeking to thaw chilly relations between two of Washington's closest Asian allies.

The United States hopes the move may improve the bilateral relationship between Seoul and Tokyo, clouded by resentment over Japan's colonial past, and strengthen their combined response to regional concerns such as North Korea and China.

Mr Obama, speaking after meeting both leaders on the sidelines of a nuclear security summit in The Hague, said the three countries had presented a united front against the threat posed by the nuclear ambitions of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Pyongyang's "provocations and threats" will be met by a united response, said Mr Obama, who will visit Japan and South Korean in April. "It is the first time that the three of us have an opportunity to meet together (on) some serious challenges that we all face," he said.

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