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Obama calls on renewing U.S.-Japan alliance

2010-01-20 10:52 BJT

WASHINGTON, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday called on renewing U.S.-Japan alliance for the 21st century, reiterating commitment to Japan's security.

In a statement marking the 50th anniversary of the signing of the U.S.-Japan security treaty, Obama said the alliance was founded on "shared values" and "common interest in peace and security."

On January 19, 1960, the two countries signed the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security, under which both parties assumed an obligation to assist each other in case of armed attack on territories under Japan administration.

"American's commitment to Japan's security is unshakable, and our cooperation to meet common challenges is a critical part of our engagement with the world," said the president.

"Let us now undertake to renew our alliance for the 21st century and enhance the bonds of friendship and common purpose that united our nations," he added.

President Obama's remark came as difference remains between the administration and the government led by Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and his Democratic Party of Japan over the relocation of a U.S. Marine Corps base in Okinawa.

Since taking office in September 2009, Hatoyama has said he would like to see the United States and Japan have a more equal relationship, and views reassessing the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) as one means of achieving this.

According to the SOFA agreement signed by Japan's former governing Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the Bush administration in 2006, 8,000 U.S. troops will be relocated from Okinawa Prefecture to Guam, and a base in the urban center of Futenma will be moved to a more rural area.

Washington calls on Hatoyama to implement the SOFA and to relocate the base.

The U.S.-Japan alliance is the cornerstone of U.S. security interests in Asia. Also under the treaty, the United States currently maintains about 50,000 troops in Japan, half of them are stationed in Okinawa.


Editor: Zhang Pengfei | Source: Xinhua