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Strategic talks continue between Japan and US

Date Posted: 2005-05-16

The governments of Japan and the United States agreed this week to upgrade the strategic dialogues between the two nations in the coming year.

The two governments have been meeting at the vice ministerial level for four years. Now, the shift to ministerial level talks ups the ante. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice suggested the change in talks with Foreign Minister Nobotaka Machimura. They labeled this week’s meeting as the first high level meeting.

The two will meet twice a year to discuss critical issues including China’s emerging status as a regional power, the North Korean situation, and the difficulties between Taiwan and China. Experts are already expressing concerns over the wisdom of upgrading talks, noting that the two senior leaders have little time for substantive meetings. A Foreign Ministry official brushed off the concerns, noting there will still be lower level exchanges to prepare the two nations for the larger scale meetings, and to maintain a range of discussions that would not be worth the two senior leaders’ time.

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