Aso Will Be First Foreign Leader to Visit Obama

Clinton expresses solidarity on North Korea
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 17, 2009 7:54 AM CST
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, left, chats with Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso prior to their talks at Aso's official residence in Tokyo, Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2009.   (AP Photo/Toru Yamanaka, Pool)
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(Newser) – Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso will head to Washington next week to discuss the economy with President Obama, Hillary Clinton announced today. It will be the first time Obama welcomes a foreign leader to the White House. The meeting was billed as a “bilateral summit” that will show that “the world’s largest economy and its second largest will work together,” said Japanese Foreign Minister Hirofui Nakasone.

Clinton also used the press conference to express solidarity with Japan on other issues, particularly North Korea. Clinton urged Pyongyang to scrap its suspected missile launch plans, and to return Japan’s kidnapped citizens. “North Korea should in no way be mistaken” about Washington’s position, she said. “We are watching very closely.” Nakasone said he doesn’t believe “US policy vis-à-vis North Korea will change in any significant way.”