US urges Japan to "move forward" on base row; Clinton, Okada to meet

Updated On: Jan 08, 2010

AFP reports:

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States said Thursday it will urge Tokyo to "move forward" on a row over a US air base and clarify its stand on a US-Japanese alliance that has underpinned security in Asia for 50 years.

Hillary Clinton will convey the message when she meets her Japanese counterpart Katsuya Okada in Hawaii on Tuesday when she begins her fourth tour of Asia since she became secretary of state one year ago, officials said.

President Barack Obama's administration welcomed Japan's new center-left government elected last August, but voiced irritation when it announced it may scrap the previously agreed relocation of Futenma airbase on southern Okinawa island.

During the talks in Honolulu, Clinton will tell Okada "how important it is to move forward on these issues in Futenma," Kurt Campbell, her top diplomat for Asian affairs, told reporters in Washington.

The chief US diplomat will also tell Okada that "we also have to have a very clear-headed recognition of how important this relationship is, how many aspects need to be maintained and engaged upon," Campbell said.

Related Article