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Abe, Obama may chat in Netherlands this month

Kyodo

Japan and the United States are considering holding a summit later this month when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Barack Obama attend an international conference in the Netherlands, a Japanese government source said Monday.

The meeting would provide an opportunity for the leaders to discuss the crisis in Ukraine following their telephone talks on Friday, when they agreed to closely cooperate in seeking a peaceful resolution to Russia’s intervention in the Crimea region.

Both Abe and Obama are expected to attend the Nuclear Security Summit from March 24 to 25 in The Hague, along with leaders from other countries including China and South Korea. Obama is also scheduled to visit Japan in late April.

In addition to Ukraine, they are also likely to discuss ongoing efforts to wrap up the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations involving Japan, the United States and 10 other countries, the source said.

Obama may also ask Abe to defuse tensions with China and South Korea over territorial and history matters, given that North Korea’s nuclear and missile development programs still pose a threat to the region.

It remains unclear whether Abe will have any contact with Chinese President Xi Jinping and South Korean President Park Geun-hye on the sidelines of the security summit, at which Abe is likely to announce Japan’s enhanced commitment to addressing nuclear proliferation and terrorism in cooperation with other countries.