TOKYO, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama called himself the "first Pacific president" of the United States in a speech Saturday in Japan.
Obama spoke of the importance of the U.S.-Japanese alliance and of the many links between the two countries. He paid tribute to Japan as the world's second-biggest economy.
"But while our commitment to this region begins in Japan, it does not end here," he said. "The United States of America may have started as a series of ports and cities along the Atlantic, but for generations we also have been a nation of the Pacific."
On his first trip to Asia since taking office in January, the president told his listeners in Suntory Hall that as a child, he had visited the great Buddha at Kamakura with his mother. He reminded them he was born in Hawaii and lived in Indonesia as a child, growing up with a half-Indonesian sister.
"So the Pacific Rim has helped shape my view of the world," he said.
While the president talked of common interests, dialogue and multilateral organizations, he also warned the North Korean government it has chosen the path of "confrontation and provocation" for decades.
Earlier, Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama recommitted to reducing carbon emissions. And the two leaders said they would work toward non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and seek a nuclear weapon-free world.