US & JAPAN - Visiting US President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday vowed to enhance bilateral ties and agree to continue their talks on the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade talks.
President Obama, saying in the summit with Prime Minister Abe, commented the US-Japan alliance as the "foundation" for not only the US security in Asia-Pacific region, but also "for the region as a whole."
The president also welcomed Japan's efforts to lift its self-imposed ban on right of collective self-defense, despite the move goes contrary against Japan's current war-renouncing constitution.
By exercising the collective self-defense rights, Japan could counter attacks on Japan's ally even when Japan itself is not being attacked.
As to the TPP, President Obama said in the joint press conference that the free trade talks should benefit the US consumers and companies, adding the two countries are "closer to deal" on market access in TPP.
Japan and the United States are at odds over Japan's reluctance to remove its tariffs imposed on US agricultural products, while the United States called on Japan to lift all tariffs on rice, wheat, pork and beef, sugar and dairy, which Japan sees as its key items, so as to conclude the free talks at an early date.
The president, furthermore, said that limited access to Japanese market must be addressed under TPP.
For his part, Prime Minister Abe said that the two sides have agreed to seek an early conclusion of the TPP free trade talks and they would release a statement after ministerial talks on TPP later the day.
Prime Minister Abe said that the two leaders' summit has vitalized the Japan- US alliance and they will expand cooperation in the defense area.
The two countries also agreed to work together with South Korea and China to deal with nuclear and missile issues of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), with Obama mentioning that the United States may put more pressure on the DPRK.
President Obama said that current situation in Ukraine should be resolved through diplomacy, rather than a military solution.
The US president also urged Japan and China to tackle their territorial disputes through dialogue and not to escalate tensions, adding the United States and China shared a broad range of common interests and it supports China's peaceful development.
TheMeatSite News Desk