Posted by Audiegrl
ABC/Jake Tapper—Calling himself “America’s first Pacific president,” President Barack Obama reaffirmed the alliance between the United States and Japan as one based on “equality and mutual respect,” and vowed to deepen the partnership moving forward.
“Our alliance has endured because it reflects our common values — a belief in the democratic right of free people to choose their own leaders and realize their own dreams; a belief that made possible the election of both Prime Minister Hatoyama and myself on the promise of change,” the president told a crowd of Japanese leaders and citizens at Suntory Hall in Tokyo. “And together, we are committed to providing a new generation of leadership for our people, and our alliance.”
Obama said his commitment extends beyond Japan to the entire Pacific region, and that the U.S. is bound to these nations by a common past, prosperity and people.
He invoked his upbringing as a native of Hawaii with ties to Indonesia, telling the group that “the Pacific rim has helped shape my view of the world.”
The president said what happens in the region has a direct impact on American citizens.“This is where we engage in much of our commerce and buy many of our goods. And this is where we can export more of our own products and create jobs back home in the process,” Obama said.
The president also spoke about common challenges, focusing on the nuclear threat posed by Iran and North Korea.
As he has in the past, the president said Pyongyang has a clear choice: continue to pursue weapons and further isolate itself, or return to the six-party talks on a path to peace.
“We will not be cowed by threats, and we will continue to send a clear message through our actions and not just our words: North Korea’s refusal to meet its international obligations will lead only to less security — not more,” Obama said.
Before departing Japan, Obama will sit down for lunch with the emperor and empress.