Washington, Feb 23: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has told U.S. President Barack Obama that he will boost his country’s defense capabilities in response to rising tensions in East Asia.
During their first meeting since Abe’s party returned to power in December, the two leaders agreed to act resolutely against North Korea as it continues to develop its nuclear-weapons program.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Abe called for additional sanctions against North Korea, as he pledged closer cooperation with the U.S. and South Korea.
The new leader said that he discussed recent tension between Japan and China over a group of uninhabited East China Sea islands, an issue that has concerned U.S. officials.
Abe said he and Obama agreed that the security alliance between Japan and the U.S. is improving after a period of occasional bumps during the prior three years when his long-ruling conservative party was in Japan’s opposition, the paper said.
According to the paper, the PM also said that since he took power in December, he has promised an increase in Japan’s defense budget for the first time in more than a decade and allowed a boost in the size of Japan’s military personnel.
He also said Japan intends to ease its domestic laws that severely limit the operational scope of its military so the nation can play a bigger role in the security alliance to ensure regional stability, the paper added. (ANI)