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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.

Apr 24, 2015

Biden, seeking to ease U.S.-Israel strains, pledges delivery of new warplanes

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Seeking to ease U.S.-Israeli tensions, Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday promised Israel delivery of top-flight fighter jets next year to maintain its military edge and vowed that any final nuclear deal with Iran would ensure Israel’s security.

Addressing an Israeli Independence Day celebration in Washington, Biden insisted that Barack Obama “has Israel’s back,” despite a recent strains between the U.S. president and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over Iran nuclear talks and Middle East diplomacy.

Apr 14, 2015

Obama tells Congress he plans to remove Cuba from terrorism list

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama told Congress on Tuesday that he plans to remove Cuba from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism, clearing away the main obstacle to restoring diplomatic relations and reopening embassies after more than half a century of enmity.

Obama’s decision comes on the heels of a Western Hemisphere summit in Panama where Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro sat down on Saturday for the first meeting of its kind between U.S. and Cuban leaders in nearly 60 years.

Apr 13, 2015

History now made, U.S. and Cuba face bumpy road ahead

PANAMA CITY (Reuters) – Cuba and the United States just made history. Now comes the hard part.

In the first meeting of its kind in nearly 60 years, U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban leader Raul Castro sat down together for over an hour on Saturday at a regional summit in Panama, moving a step closer to restoring diplomatic ties.

    • 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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