HANOI (Kyodo) Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada said Friday that he and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton State Hillary Clinton agreed in their meeting that it is important to gain the support of the people of Okinawa for the relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma within the prefecture.
Okada added that he and Clinton also agreed that an expert study on details of the plan to relocate the base will be held as scheduled by late August.
Under a bilateral accord on the base transfer reached in May, experts from the two countries are scheduled to finalize the relocation plan by the end of August, but Tokyo has suggested the work may be delayed due to local opposition. A recent report indicated the government wants to await the results of this fall’s from Okinawa gubernatorial election.
The two met on the sidelines of a security parley of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and its partners in Hanoi.
Okada said he and Clinton also stressed that Japan, the United States and South Korea stand united in dealing with North Korea, and that Tokyo backs the new U.S. sanctions against Pyongyang.
Clinton announced the new sanctions Wednesday in Seoul. They are in reaction to the North’s alleged sinking of a South Korean warship in March. They also are aimed at stopping Pyongyang’s quest for atomic weapons and its nuclear proliferation threat.
The North has strongly denied being behind the sinking of the corvette Cheonan in the Yellow Sea that claimed the lives of 46 South Korean sailors.
South Korea, Japan and the United States all oppose an early restart of the six-party North-denuclearization talks unless Pyongyang properly responds to international condemnation over the sinking.
The denuclearization talks involving the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States have been stalled since December 2008.
According to a North Korean draft of the chairman’s statement of the 27-member ASEAN Regional Forum, ARF foreign ministers expressed “support for the reopening of the six-party talks on an equal footing at the earliest possible date.”
The ministers also called for the settlement of pending issues on the Korean Peninsula “not by means of military threats or demonstration of military power in the form of joint military exercises,” said the North’s version of the draft statement, a copy of which was obtained by Kyodo News.
The forum is the only regional security dialogue attended by North Korea.
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