Bush Welcomes Planned Visit to China, South Korea by Japan's Abe

By Jane Morse
Washington File Staff Writer

Washington - President Bush is “encouraged” by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's planned visit to the People's Republic of China on October 8 and to the Republic of Korea (ROK, or South Korea) on October 9, the White House announced October 4.

The United States places “utmost importance on close cooperation between its two key allies in East Asia, Japan and the ROK," and stronger bilateral ties between the two countries will allow for "closer trilateral U.S.-Japan-ROK cooperation," according to a White House press statement.

Increased cooperation between Japan and China is also "critical to dealing with the common challenges we face in Asia,” the statement said, adding, "Strong relations among these key nations in Asia can enrich the vibrant social and economic exchanges already taking place, and contribute to the region's security"

Japan, South Korea and China, along with North Korea, Russia and the United States, are participants in the Six-Party Talks on denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

On September 19, the State Department praised actions taken by Japan to implement U.N. Security Council Resolution 1695, which condemned North Korea's July 5 test launches of a series of missiles and demanded the suspension of all activities related to that country's ballistic missile program. (See related article.)

In September 2005, Japan and the United States created the U.S.-Japan Strategic Development Alliance.  Announced by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs Nobutaka Machimura during the 60th session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York, the alliance was established as a cooperative effort between the world’s two largest donor nations to ensure the most effective use of assistance to developing countries. (See related article.)

According to the U.S. Department of State, the U.S.-Japan alliance is “the cornerstone of U.S. security interests in Asia and is fundamental to regional stability and prosperity.

“Despite the changes in the post-Cold War strategic landscape,” State’s background notes say, “the U.S.-Japan alliance continues to be based on shared vital interests and values. These include stability in the Asia-Pacific region, the preservation and promotion of political and economic freedoms, support for human rights and democratic institutions, and securing of prosperity for the people of both countries and the international community as a whole.”

In the October 4 statement, President Bush expressed his support for the efforts of Prime Minister Abe and said he “looks forward to continuing the strong relationship between the United States and Japan for the cause of peace, prosperity, and freedom in Asia and the world.”

The full text of the statement is available on the White House Web site.