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May 13, 2015

Analysis – Obama bets that U.S.-Gulf alliance can survive tensions over Iran

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama may fail to pacify Gulf Arab fears over his Iran nuclear diplomacy at a summit this week, following a pointed Saudi snub of the event. But a bigger question looms for Washington: how much does it matter?

Obama appears confident Washington has enough leverage to fend off Sunni Arab pressure to do more to stop arch-rival Shi’ite Iran from intervening in conflicts across much of the region, underlining diverging interests between the United States and its long-standing Gulf allies.

May 11, 2015

U.S. rejects notion that Gulf rulers snubbing Obama summit

WASHINGTON/RIYADH (Reuters) – The White House scrambled on Monday to counter perceptions that the Saudi king’s absence from a summit later this week could undermine U.S. efforts to assure Gulf states it remains committed to their security against Iran.

King Salman’s abrupt decision to skip the U.S.-hosted regional talks shows how Gulf rulers, displeased by what they see as U.S. indifference to Iranian meddling in the Arab world, may hesitate to bless any final nuclear deal that President Barack Obama reaches with Tehran.

May 6, 2015

Obama expected to push for Gulf missile defense at U.S. summit

WASHINGTON, May 6 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama is
expected to make a renewed U.S. push next week to help Gulf
allies create a region-wide defense system to guard against
Iranian missiles as he seeks to allay their anxieties over any
nuclear deal with Tehran, according to U.S. sources.

The offer could be accompanied by enhanced security
commitments, new arms sales and more joint military exercises,
U.S. officials say, as Obama tries to reassure Gulf Arab
countries that Washington is not abandoning them.

Apr 30, 2015

Abe voices ‘repentance’ on WW2, touts Japan’s new security role

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed “deep repentance” over Japan’s role in World War Two in a speech to the U.S. Congress on Wednesday, even as he declared Tokyo’s emergence as a global security player in the face of China’s rising power.

Using the high-profile platform to strike a note of measured contrition, Abe insisted that Japan must not avert its eyes from the suffering of Asian people from its wartime behavior but stopped short of issuing his own apology, instead upholding statements by his predecessors.

Apr 29, 2015

In speech to Congress, Japan’s Abe faces challenges on trade, wartime past

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – When Shinzo Abe becomes the first Japanese prime minister to address a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress on Wednesday, he will face two formidable challenges: convincing skeptical lawmakers about a proposed Pacific trade pact and easing concerns about his views on Tokyo’s wartime past.

The Obama administration has rolled out the red carpet for Abe, seeking to showcase deeper defense ties and advance the long-delayed trade deal as the two allies work to counter China’s rising power in the region.

Apr 29, 2015

Obama accuses China of flexing muscle in disputes with neighbors

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama accused China on Tuesday of “flexing its muscles” to advance its maritime claims against Asian neighbors and assured Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of the U.S. commitment to defend Japanese territory, including tiny islands in dispute with Beijing.

Speaking at a joint news conference in the White House Rose Garden, Obama said a strong U.S.-Japan alliance should not be seen as a provocation to China, but he sought to put to rest any Japanese doubts on whether Washington would stand by Tokyo in a possible confrontation with Beijing.

Apr 28, 2015

Obama hosts Japan’s Abe, hails alliance as ‘indestructible’

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Hailing the U.S.-Japan partnership as “indestructible,” President Barack Obama on Tuesday hosted Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a visit to showcase deeper defence ties and advance a Pacific trade pact as the two allies seek to counter China’s growing power in the region.

“Today we welcome Prime Minister Abe as we broaden our alliance for our time,” Obama said as he greeted the Japanese leader on the south lawn of the White House with a display of ceremonial pomp. “Ours is an alliance focussed on the future.”

Apr 28, 2015

Japan’s Abe seeks to showcase close U.S. ties on landmark visit

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama will host Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for White House talks on Tuesday to showcase newly strengthened defense ties and advance a long-delayed Pacific trade deal as the two allies seek to counter China’s rising influence in Asia.

But as Abe tries to focus on the future amid the ceremonial pomp of his official visit to Washington, the conservative leader is expected to be dogged by critics’ questions about how he is handling his country’s wartime past.

Apr 24, 2015

No U.S.-Japan trade breakthrough expected during Abe visit – White House

WASHINGTON, April 24 (Reuters) – The White House on Friday
dashed hopes of a breakthrough on U.S.-Japan trade when
President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meet in
Washington next week, further delaying a major 12-nation Pacific
trade pact.

“We’re not there yet,” said Caroline Atkinson, Obama’s
deputy national security adviser.

Apr 24, 2015

U.S., Japan make progress in trade talks but no deal seen yet: White House

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. and Japanese negotiators have made “substantial progress” toward a deal on a major Pacific free-trade pact but President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are not expected to announce a final accord during Abe’s Washington visit next week, the White House said on Friday.

“We’re not there yet,” said Caroline Atkinson, Obama’s deputy national security adviser, all but dashing hopes for a breakthrough agreement that would be the signature achievement when Obama hosts Abe at the White House on Tuesday.

    • About Matt

      "White House correspondent who has covered news on four continents for Reuters, from Latin American coups and drug wars to the O.J. Simpson murder trial in Los Angeles to the Balkans conflict to the second Palestinian Intifada to the Iraq war. He has covered George W. Bush and is now covering President Barack Obama."
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