Bush, Japanese PM Boost Ties

Leaders offer assurances on Afghanistan, North Korea
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 16, 2007 5:25 PM CST
Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda reviews members of the Japan Self Defence Forces during a ceremony marking 57th anniversary of Japanese military at Asaka base, north of Tokyo, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2007....   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – President Bush and new Japanese PM Yasuo Fukuda today vowed to reconcile hot-button issues concerning North Korea and Afghanistan that have strained relations, Reuters reports. In his first visit to the White House, Fukuda pledged to do his "utmost" to renew a refueling mission for coalition forces in Afghanistan, which has been halted by a parliamentary stalemate.

"We should never allow Afghanistan to again become a hotbed for terrorism," the PM declared. Bush in turn promised not to forget 12 Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea. The US has offered to remove North Korea from its list of terrorism-sponsoring nations as a reward for nuclear disarmament, but Japan wants Pyongyang to disclose the abductees' fate first.