President Obama, Japanese PM Yoshihiko Noda stand firm against North Korea


President Barack Obama (R) listens as Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda speaks during a news conference in the East Room at the White House on April 30, 2012 in Washington, DC. President Obama and Prime Minister Noda took questions from the media and talked about US-Japanese relations and their strong alliance.


Mark Wilson

President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda spoke out against North Korea's "provocations" after their meeting on Monday, the Associated Press reported

The two leaders held talks in the Oval Office in the first visit by a Japanese leader to the White House in three years, Channel News Asia reported.

Much of President Obama and Prime Minister Noda's discussion was centered on North Korea, which mentioned plans to conduct a nuclear test after its recent failed missile launch, CNN reported. The United States and Japan are at the helm of an international coalition attempting to get the secretive state to halt its nuclear program. 

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"The old pattern of provocation that then gets attention and somehow insists on the world purchasing good behavior from them, that pattern is broken," Obama said on Monday, BBC News reported

The United States' alliance with Japan is at the core of Obama’s foreign policy in Asia, the Associated Press reported, and the meeting with Prime Minister Noda is interpreted by many as a diplomatic move motivated at least in part by the US's desire to counter China's growing economic and social influence in the region. 

Noda took power in September as Japan's sixth prime minister in five years, and is struggling with the country's volatile politics and economic recession. He is also trying to repair the damage from last year's earthquake and tsunami that killed at least 16,000 people and triggered the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, CNN reported. 

During the leaders' press conference, Obama praised Noda and the Japanese people for their recovery after the disasters, according to the AP.

Last week, Japan and the United States addressed the thorny issue of the US's military presence in Okinawa, and announced a plan for the United States to relocate roughly half of its 19,000 Marines from the Japanese island to other places in the Pacific region, CNN reported.

"The realignment approach being taken is consistent with the security interests of both Japan and the United States," Obama said, according to CNN.  

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Despite their united stance on North Korea, Monday's summit did not produce any breakthrough agreements on trade, the AP reported. Both countries will continue to discuss the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a pact under negotiation by nine nations and the US that hopes to increase American exports to support its economic recovery, according to the AP. 

More from GlobalPost: Obama: Outlines of TransPacific Partnership trade deal reached