Washington: The US and Japan continue their negotiations on relocation of bases on Japanese island of Okinawa where most of the 36,000 American soldiers in the country are stationed, the White House has said amid reports about break down of talks.
"We're continuing to engage the government of Japan in negotiations that will maintain our alliance as well as reduce the impact of our bases on local communities," the White House spokesman, Robert Gibbs, said.
"We have an agreement with the previous administration in Japan. Most of the 36,000 US military personnel in Japan are based on the southern island of Okinawa. We set up a working group to discuss the implementation of that agreement and we're anxious for those conversations to continue," Gibbs said in response to a question on this issue.
When asked about reports of breakdown in talks, Gibbs said: "The only way to make progress is to continue that working -- standing up that working group and having that discussion.”
The Washington Post in a news report said on Wednesday that Japan has suspended talks about US air bases.
The Post said the newly-elected government of Japan is uncomfortable with the military footprint of the US. Gibbs said there was no plan as of now for US President Barack Obama to meet Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama in Copenhagen on the sidelines of the Summit on Climate Change.
"I don't know where -- again, I think this is appropriately being handled right now with our Ambassador there and others in terms of making progress.”
“I think this was discussed just a couple of weeks ago and I think the working group working, we would believe, is the best way to continue that progress," Gibbs said.
First Published: Thursday, December 10, 2009, 09:31