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Obama, Noda vow to boost security ties

(China Daily)

13:17, May 02, 2012

US President Barack Obama and visiting Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on Monday vowed to boost the countries' existing security alliance, as the leaders in Washington agreed to a joint vision that they say will "help shape the Asia-Pacific for decades to come".

The details of the talks between Obama and Noda, the first Japanese leader to be hosted at the White House since his Democratic Party of Japan came to power in 2009, were not immediately clear.

In a news conference after their meeting, both leaders highlighted their earlier, long-anticipated agreement to move some 9,000 US Marines on Japan's Okinawa Island to other regions in the Pacific region.

The move will see the US streamline its military presence in Japan, now with about 50,000 troops, around the Western Pacific, as Washington forged closer military ties with traditional allies such as the Philippines, Australia and Singapore in recent months.

Obama reiterated support on Monday for Japan to join talks with the US and eight other countries, including Vietnam and Australia, on a Washington-led free trade agreement in the Asia-Pacific. He said the proposed trade pact would benefit both the American and Japanese economies and the region.

Noda, for his part, sounded conservative. "In the economic area, we shall deepen bilateral economic ties and fortify the growth and prosperity of the two countries through the promotion of economic integration in the Asia-Pacific region," he said.

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