Amid island rows, Japan, US affirm security ties
Yokohama: The flare-up of territorial disputes souring relations between Japan, China and Russia has not weakened the US-Japan security alliance and has underscored the importance of America`s regional military presence, Japan`s leader said on Saturday.
Prime Minister Naoto Kan, after meeting President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation economic summit, said he thanked the US for its support during the disputes, which he said demonstrated the importance of the US-Japan security alliance and the presence of US troops.
Japan`s relations with Beijing remain chilly after a Chinese fishing trawler collided with Japanese patrol boats in September off disputed islands to its south. Not long after that, Russian leader Dmitry Medvedev paid a surprise visit to another disputed island off Japan`s northern shores, a move that prompted a strong protest from Tokyo.
"We have had various problems in our relations with Russia and China, and I thank President Obama for his support," Kan said. "Not only the Japanese people, but also our neighbouring countries, have realised the importance of the United States and the presence of the US military."
Washington, which has about 50,000 troops in Japan under a decades-old mutual security treaty that binds it to protect Japan, has offered to mediate talks between Tokyo and Beijing to help resolve the dispute with China. Beijing, however, has refused to participate in any such forum.
Obama stressed Washington`s continued support of the alliance, which marked its 50th anniversary this year, and its value as a stabilizing factor in the region. Officials on both sides of the Pacific have long hailed the alliance as a strong deterrent in Asia, even if troops are not directly called on to intervene in disputes.
"The commitment of the United States to the defence of Japan is unshakable," he said. "Japan and the United States are stronger when we stand together."
The leaders largely sidestepped issues within the alliance itself.
The two countries have been moving to strengthen their military cooperation — which both see as an important factor in maintaining security in the region as China`s military grows in strength. But the alliance itself has been strained by an ongoing disagreement over what to do about a major US Marine Corps facility on the southern island of Okinawa.
Tokyo and Washington agreed years ago to move the base, called the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, to a less crowded part of the island, and Washington is planning to relocate more than 8,000 Marines off Okinawa altogether to the US Pacific territory of Guam by 2014.
But Washington`s demand for a suitable replacement base for the troops that will remain on Okinawa — which it says is a prerequisite for the Marines` relocation — has generated widespread opposition on Okinawa and talks have bogged down, throwing the whole plan into political limbo.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- I eat beef, can somebody stop me?: Kiren Rijiju hits back at Naqvi
- Delhi: Visually impaired boy scores 91.4% in CBSE 12th Board exams
- MP: 14-year-old boy works as bonded labour since 2009
- UP: Man chops off wife's nose, hair for dowry
- Zee Media Exclusive: The plight of yoga expert Tejaswi Sharma
- Woman denied flat in Mumbai for being a Muslim
- 4 Indians in Forbes' 100 most powerful women list
- BBV: What challenges lie ahead of Modi govt?
- Gujjar stir: HC asks Rajasthan govt to clear rail track, roads
- Heat wave continues in India, death toll climbs to over 1,400
- Gujjar stir: HC asks Rajasthan govt to clear rail track, roads- Part II
- Megastar Amitabh Bachchan slapped with Rs 1 crore notice
- Kenyan Lawyer offers to marry Barack Obama's daughter Malia
- AIB: The 'Third Gender's right to dignity'
- Maggi likely to face ban in India!
- CBSE Class 10 Board Result 2015 to be announced today
- CBSE Class 10 Board Result 2015 (cbse.nic.in, cbseresults.nic.in) postponed?
- Check mahresult.nic.in for MSBSHSE Maharashtra Class 12 HSC Result 2015
- Maharashtra MSBSHSE HSC Result 2015 on mahresult.nic.in
- I was misquoted, says Kiren Rijiju on 'beef' remark
- First look: Salman Khan steals thunder in `Bajrangi Bhaijaan`
- mahresult.nic.in updated with MSBSHSE Maharashtra HSC Class XII Result 2015
- Check cbse.nic.in, cbseresults.nic.in for CBSE Class 10 Result 2015
- Manmohan Singh defends himself on 2G charge, slams Modi govt for 'carbon copy' schemes
- Sonia Gandhi 'unconstitutional authority' during UPA: PM Narendra Modi
- Hours after attacking NDA govt, Manmohan Singh meets PM Narendra Modi
- CBSE Class 10 (Class X Board) Result 2015 on cbse.nic.in, cbseresults.nic.in at 2 pm
- Reservation stir: Five percent job quota to Gujjars unlikely, hints Rajasthan govt
- PMO website revamped, now send e-mail to PM Modi directly
- Death toll climbs to over 1400 as intense heatwave continues in India