China expected on agenda for Abe, Obama

Updated: 2015-04-28 22:59

By CAI CHUNYING in Washington(China Daily USA)

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China expected on agenda for Abe, Obama

Evan Medeiros, special assistant to the president and US National Security Council senior director for Asian Affairs

China will be an important part of the conversation between US President Barack Obama and Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe when the two meet in Washington on Tuesday, according to a White House official.

"China will come up because it is a major player in East Asia. But the fundamental message is that both the US and Japan want a productive and constructive relationship with China," Evan Medeiros, special assistant to the president and US National Security Council senior director for Asian Affairs, said in a briefing of foreign media Monday about Abe's official visit to the US.

"We want to work with China both in Asia and globally on economic and security challenges," Medeiros said.

Abe's one-week visit, which started on April 26 in Boston with a meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry, underscores the centrality of Japan to US Asia policy and America's engagement in the Asia Pacific region, Medeiros said.

Obama has invited Chinese President Xi Jinping to visit the US in September, as well as Korean President Park Geun-hye and Indonesia President Joko Widodo sometime this year.

"America is a global power. We can walk and chew gum at the same time," said Medeiros, stressing that US economic and security interests are increasingly linked to the Asia-Pacific region and that the Obama administration is going to be engaged in the region until the end of its term.

"Of course, both of us have differences with China, and we will talk about the most effective ways to manage those to ensure the stability and prosperity in Asia," Medeiros said.

Medeiros said that the White House has noticed recent improvement in Sino-Japanese relations, referring to the meeting between Xi and Abe on the sidelines of the 2015 Asian-African Summit in Jakarta last week.

Abe, however, disappointed Asian countries that had suffered from its World War II aggressions by expressing only his nation's "deep remorse" during his summit speech, without repeating a “heartfelt apology” for Japan’s "colonial rule and aggression", as stated by some of his predecessors.

The first Japanese leader to visit the US since 2006, Abe is scheduled to address a joint session of Congress on Wednesday morning.

Earlier this month, 25 US Congress members sent a letter to Japan's ambassador to the US, asking Abe to "formally reaffirm and validate" previous apologies during his upcoming address, according to a report by USA Today.

It is likely that Abe will face protests when walking into the Capitol as the first Japanese leader to address the US Congress. National and regional organizations devoted to commemorating “comfort women” and recording the history of Japan’s invasion of neighboring countries during World War II have called their Congress members and for public action throughout the US.

"2015 is an important year in the history of international relations and in the Asia Pacific because it is the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II," said Medeiros. "World War II was a very difficult period in the history for the Asia Pacific."

Obama and Abe will discuss bilateral defense guidelines, North Korea, maritime security and regional economic affairs, as well as a good range of global issues.

Medeiros said Abe's state visit in Washington will include an arrival ceremony on the White House South Lawn, an Oval Office meeting with Obama, a joint press conference, a luncheon held by US Vice-President Joe Biden and Kerry, and a state dinner during which the White House will release the first family's new china plates.

Abe will then travel to San Francisco and Los Angeles to meet business leaders and prominent Japanese Americans.