Obama reaffirms commitment to Japan on tour of Asia allies
Published on Apr 24, 2014 2:40 PM
TOKYO (REUTERS) - US President Barack Obama assured ally Japan on Thursday that Washington was committed to its defence, including of tiny isles at the heart of a row with China, but denied he had drawn any new "red line" and urged peaceful dialogue over the islands.
Mr Obama also urged Japan to take "bold steps" to clinch a two-way trade pact seen as crucial to a broad regional agreement that is a central part of the US leader's "pivot" of military, diplomatic and economic resources towards Asia and the Pacific.
US and Japanese trade negotiators failed to resolve differences in time for Mr Obama and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to shake hands on a deal at the summit, but the two leaders reported progress and ordered their teams to keep working.
Mr Obama, on the start of a four-nation tour, is being treated to a display of pomp and ceremony meant to show that the US-Japan alliance, the main pillar of America's security strategy in Asia, is solid at a time of rising tensions over growing Chinese assertiveness and North Korean nuclear threats.
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