Obama, Abe meet ahead of Pearl Harbor visit

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December 27, 2016

President Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met Tuesday near Pearl Harbor, a historic gathering at the site of a Japanese attack 75 years ago that thrust the U.S. into World War II.

The two leaders held an official meeting at Camp H.M. Smith, a nearby Marine Corps base.

December 27, 2016

President Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met Tuesday near Pearl Harbor, a historic gathering at the site of a Japanese attack 75 years ago that thrust the U.S. into World War II.

The two leaders held an official meeting at Camp H.M. Smith, a nearby Marine Corps base.

Afterward, Obama and Abe were expected to participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at the USS Arizona Memorial, where more than 1,000 American service members lost their lives on Dec. 7, 1941.

Abe's visit is meant to symbolize how the two nations healed the wounds of war and forged a strong alliance. Previous Japanese leaders have traveled to Pearl Harbor, but none have made an official visit to the memorial site.

Both Obama and Abe will deliver remarks at the nearby Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam following the ceremony.

Tuesday likely marks the final time Obama will meet with a foreign leader as president.

He cut out time from his annual holiday vacation in Hawaii to meet with Abe, with whom he forged a strong bond.

The two leaders were instrumental in pushing the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact, which is on hold following the election of Donald Trump, a staunch opponent of the deal.

There are lingering questions about the future of the alliance under Trump, who suggested Asian nations such as Japan and South Korea should have their own nuclear weapons to counter regional rivals China and North Korea.

Trump said during the campaign that defending allies around the world has become too costly for the U.S. government.

But Abe has also extended an olive branch to Trump; he was the first foreign leader to meet with the president-elect after he won the November election.

The Japanese leader's visit to Pearl Harbor comes seven months after Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima, Japan, where the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb in 1945 with the hopes of ending World War II.

Obama did not apologize for the U.S. dropping the atom bomb. Instead, he delivered an address expressing hope for a nuclear-free future.

Abe has suggested his trip is an act of reciprocity to Obama.

Obama's message in Hiroshima "was engraved in the heart of the Japanese people," Abe said earlier this month when he announced his Hawaii trip.

"This will be a visit to soothe the souls of the victims," he added. "We should never repeat the ravages of the war."


Courtesy: The Hill

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