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2009年11月15日 (日)

オバマ演説 アジア戦略の要は日米同盟だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 15, 2009)
Japan-U.S. alliance key to Asian peace, prosperity
オバマ演説 アジア戦略の要は日米同盟だ(11月15日付・読売社説)

U.S. President Barack Obama stressed in a speech he delivered in Tokyo, the first leg of his Asian tour, on Saturday that the United States places great importance on Asia and will actively engage in addressing issues across the region.

Obama stated that the Asia-Pacific region is a "vitally important part of the world" and that the United States is committed to the region's future.

The words were an indication of Obama's eagerness to secure stability and prosperity in Asia under U.S. initiatives.

Recovery from the global recession hinges very much on the economies of Asia, the largest region in the world recording significant growth. Economic trends in the region, which purchases about 25 percent of the United States' merchandise exports, have a decisive impact on the U.S. economy and employment.

At the same time, the United States currently is facing many challenges it cannot overcome without cooperation with Asian nations, including North Korea's nuclear development, the ever-deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, energy security and global warming countermeasures.


Hatoyama must improve ties

In Saturday's speech, Obama clarified his position on the Japan-U.S. alliance, saying it is the foundation for strengthening U.S. engagement with the whole of Asia.

Obama and Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama agreed during their summit talks Friday to deepen and develop the Japan-U.S. alliance. Hatoyama must, however, exercise leadership to improve this key relationship, which appears to be somewhat strained.

The United States is watching its influence in Asia ebb away as an emergent China increases its influence in the region. Obama's speech apparently came about as a result of his concern regarding this situation.

On U.S. relations with China, Obama said in the speech, "Cultivating spheres of cooperation--not competing spheres of influence--will lead to progress in the Asia-Pacific." And he added, "The United States does not seek to contain China."

Obama also said Washington will work to further deepen its strategic and economic dialogues with Beijing as well as to improve communication between their militaries.


Greater U.S. role in Asia?

A key focus of attention is on what measures Obama will come up with to strengthen the U.S. relationship with China during meetings with Chinese leaders in Beijing this week.

In Asia, there have been various initiatives put forward that seek to strengthen cooperation among the region's nations, such as Hatoyama's proposal for the creation of an East Asia community, and China's call for an East Asia free trade area.

In his speech, Obama referred to the United States more formally engaging with the East Asia Summit, in what was apparently a strategic move aimed at seeing the United States participate in the forum.

As for North Korea, the largest destabilizing factor in the East Asian region, Obama sought a return by Pyongyang to the six-party talks aimed at denuclearizing the nation and to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. He also said the United States is committed to firmly maintaining sanctions on North Korea until it meets its international obligations.

As for the issue of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korean agents, Obama said that "full normalization with its neighbors can only come if Japanese families receive a full accounting of those who have been abducted."

With a U.S.-North Korea dialogue looming, this is a powerful message that makes it clear Tokyo and Washington stand as one on this issue. Japan and the United States need to achieve results together through an unshakable Japan-U.S. alliance.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 15, 2009)
(2009年11月15日00時22分  読売新聞)


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