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Asia tensions simmer as Obama set to arrive in Tokyo

Published on Apr 23, 2014 5:28 AM
 
US President Barack Obama walks to Marine One prior to departure on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC on April 22, 2014. US President Barack Obama arrives in a tense Asian region on Wednesday, faced with the delicate task of assuring Japan and other regional allies of America's commitment to their defence without hurting Washington's vital ties with a rising China. -- PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (REUTERS) - US President Barack Obama arrives in a tense Asian region on Wednesday, faced with the delicate task of assuring Japan and other regional allies of America's commitment to their defence without hurting Washington's vital ties with a rising China.

That difficult diplomatic balancing act was highlighted on Monday, when Japanese Prime Minister sent a ritual offering to Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine, seen in parts of the region as a symbol of Japan's past militarism.

The move strained Tokyo's already tense ties with China and fellow US ally South Korea, another stop on his four-nation tour that will also take in Malaysia and the Philippines.

Japan, for its part, has been beset by anxiety over the degree to which reality matches rhetoric in Obama's promised"pivot" of US military and diplomatic assets to Asia.

 
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