Obama Meets with Japanese Prime Minister
By Glenn Kessler
President Obama this morning granted politically embattled Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso the honor of being the first foreign leader to meet with him at the White House.
Obama called the U.S.-Japanese relationship the "cornerstone of security in East Asia" as he and Aso plunged into talks on the global economic crisis, North Korea and Afghanistan.
"Obviously, the friendship between the United States and Japan is extraordinarily important to our country," Obama told reporters before he met with Aso in the Oval Office.
Aso, whose approval ratings have plunged to the single digits, said "on behalf of not only Japan but as a nation, we are very honored to be here as the first of foreign guests." He noted that as the world's two biggest economies, Japan and the United States "will have to work together, hand in hand."
The meeting between the two men was hastily arranged, with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivering the invitation just last week during a stop in Tokyo. While the economy is expected the dominate the discussion, North Korea over night announced it was preparing to shoot a satellite into orbit, a euphemism for a long-range missile test that raise tensions throughout Northeast Asia.
Web Politics Editor
February 24, 2009; 12:15 PM ET
Categories: Barack Obama , Foggy Bottom
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