HIGHLIGHTS 2-Obama, Japan PM quotes at news conference

Fri Nov 13, 2009 7:56am EST

(For full coverage of Obama's Asia visit, click [ID:nOBAMAASIA])

TOKYO Nov 13 (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama pledged on Friday to revitalise their strained security alliance as they adapt to a rapidly rising China.

Following are key quotes by Obama and Hatoyama in a joint news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama on Friday. *************************************************************

OBAMA ON RELATIONS WITH ASIA

"Throughout my trip and throughout my presidency, I intend to make clear that the United States is a Pacific nation and we will be deepening our engagement in this part of the world ...

"The United States will strengthen our alliances, build new partnerships and will be part of multilateral efforts and regional institutions that advance regional security and prosperity. We have to understand that the future of the United States and Asia is inextricably linked.

"The issues that matter most to our people -- economic growth and job creation, non proliferation, clean energy, these are all issues that have to be part of a joint agenda and we had very productive discussions about these issues this evening."

OBAMA ON ALLIANCE WITH JAPAN

"Japan is my first stop as president in Asia. I began my trip here in Tokyo because the alliance between the United States in Japan is the foundation for security and prosperity not just for our two countries but for the Asia-Pacific region.

"In a few months, we will be marking the 50th anniversary of our alliance, which is founded on shared values and shared interests that has served our people so well and has provided peace and security for the region in an unprecedented way.

"That anniversary ... represents an important opportunity to step back and reflect on what we've achieved, celebrate our friendship but also find ways to renew this alliance and refresh it for the 21st century.

"Both Yukio and I were elected on a promise of change. But there should be no doubt as we move our nations in a new direction our alliance will endure and our efforts will be focused on revitalising that friendship so that it's even stronger and more successful in meeting the challenges of the 21st century.

"It's essential for the United States, it's essential for Japan and it's essential for the Asia-Pacific region."

OBAMA ON U.S BASES ON OKINAWA, SOUTHERN JAPAN:

"Let me first of all insist that the United States and Japan are equal partners. We have been and we will continue to be ... That's reflected in the Japan-U.S. alliance. It will be reflected in the resolution of the base realignment issues related to Futenma (Marine base).

"As the prime minister indicated, we discussed this.

"The United States and Japan have set up a high-level working group that will focus on implementation of the agreement that the our two governments reached with respect to the restructuring of the U.S. forces in Okinawa and we hope to complete this work expeditiously.

"Our goal remains the same, and that's to provide for the defence of Japan with minimal intrusion on the lives of the people who share the space, and I have to say that I am extraordinarily proud and grateful for the men and women in uniform from the United States who help us to honour our obligations to the alliance and our treaties."

OBAMA ON NORTH KOREA "We have continued to say that our goal is a non-nuclear Korean peninsula. That's vital for the security of East Asia.

"The United States and Japan, with the other members of the six-party talks, will continue to work to show North Korea that there is a pathway, a door, for them to rejoin the international community that would serve their people well and, I believe, enhance their security over the long term.

"They have to walk through that door. In the meantime, we will continue to implement the sanctions that have already been put in place and we will continue to coordinate closely with Japan and the other six-party members in helping to shape a strategy that meets our security needs and convinces Pyongyang to move in a better direction."

COMMENTS BY JAPAN PM HATOYAMA

"I told him that the U.S.-Japan alliance is the cornerstone of everything in Japan's diplomacy. But given changing times and the global environment, I proposed to further develop and deepen the U.S.-Japan alliance and create a new U.S.-Japan alliance that is constructive and future-oriented. Next year marks the 50th anniversary of U.S.-Japan security agreement, so I proposed to start a new process of talks over the next year, starting from today. And President Obama agreed."

HATOYAMA ON OKINAWA FUTENMA BASE

"On the Futenma (Okinawa) base, I said we would set up a high-level working group and seek a solution as soon as possible.

"That's reflected in the Japan-U.S. alliance, it will be reflected in the resolution of the base realignment issues, related to Futenma ...

"The United States and Japan have set up a high-level working group that will focus on implementation of the agreement that our two governments reached ... expeditiously." (Reporting by Caren Bohan, Yoko Nishikawa, Isabel Reynolds and Yoko Nishikawa)

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