Report: N. Korea to be Obama-Abe priority

Feb. 17, 2013 at 9:31 PM
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TOKYO, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- The North Korean nuclear issue will take priority at talks between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Barack Obama, a source told Kyodo News.

Abe, who travels to Washington this week, was informed by Obama during a telephone call talks, set for Friday, will first take up North Korea -- which conducted its third nuclear last week in violation of U.N. Security Council sanctions and over the objections of the international community.

Japan, pursuing stricter sanctions against North Korea, wants to work with the United States in cutting off international fund transfers to the isolated Communist country, the source told Kyodo News. The report said Japan wants to show through such cooperation with the United States the allies are united and resolute in dealing with North Korea.

The source told Kyodo the tightened sanctions would be similar to those the United States has imposed on Iran, which is also suspected to be developing nuclear weapons, although Tehran maintains its program is for peaceful purposes.

Abe and Obama will also discuss security in the Asia-Pacific region both in light of North Korea's nuclear and missile threat and China's growing military power, the source told Kyodo.

Other topics would include Japan's participation in the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade initiative and the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station within Okinawa Prefecture.

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