3RD LD: Koizumi, Bush to take up N. Korea, Iraq issues.
(EDS: CHANGING DATELINE, UPDATING)
Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and U.S. President George W. Bush are to discuss the nuclear arms impasse involving North Korea and its abduction of Japanese as well as rebuilding Iraq on Friday morning at Bush's ranch, officials of both countries said Thursday.
Topics of their planned two-hour discussions at the president's ranch in Crawford, Texas, may also include imposing economic sanctions on North Korea, Koizumi said on a government plane from Tokyo to Waco, Texas.
Bush is expected to explain to Koizumi his plans for rehabilitation and reconstruction of Iraq following the war there, and the premier will likely reiterate Japan's pledge to help Iraq rebuild, the officials said.
In their seventh face-to-face talks, the two leaders will also reaffirm their commitments to fight terrorism, particularly in light of recent terrorist activities in Saudi Arabia, where Koizumi is scheduled to make a brief stop Sunday.
On the economic front, the Japanese leader will talk about his continued structural reform efforts and attempts to stabilize Japan's banking system.
Although the two basically agree that the North Korean issues must be resolved peacefully, they may warn the reclusive state that if it continues to pursue its nuclear ambitions, the world may resort to measures such as economic sanctions.
''I want to comprehensively discuss the nuclear issue, the abduction issue and missile issue, and perhaps there will be mention of economic support or economic sanctions,'' Koizumi told reporters traveling with him.
But Koizumi added, ''I think we share the recognition of seeking a peaceful and political resolution'' over North Korea.
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer told reporters en route to Crawford on Air Force One that Bush intends to build through his talks with Koizumi a ''united front'' against North Korea that would not ''reward blackmail.'' Bush has pursued the policy in recent talks with Chinese and South Korean leaders.
After arriving in Waco on Thursday afternoon, Koizumi took a helicopter to Bush's ranch and was welcomed by the president and his wife Laura. Koizumi is the fifth foreign government leader to stay overnight at the 1,600-acre property.
On Thursday afternoon, Koizumi and Bush held nearly two hours of unscheduled talks with only interpreters joining in. Japanese officials only said they exchanged views in a frank and informal manner.
On Iraq, Koizumi will likely tell Bush about Japan's new humanitarian assistance package, announced Wednesday, worth about $50 million to help rebuild the war-torn country through international and nongovernmental organizations.
The premier is expected to emphasize the need for the global community to cooperate to rebuild the country, particularly in view of the differences between the U.S. and some European countries over whether the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq was necessary.
Koizumi said the Japanese government will ''fully consider whether there is a need for new legislation'' if some of its planned support activities cannot be carried out under current laws, including dispatching Self-Defense Forces (SDF) for Iraqi reconstruction.
His comments came after the U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution Thursday to lift a 13-year economic sanction on Iraq and to promote its reconstruction.
Koizumi will also seek U.S. cooperation on the issue of North Korea's abduction of Japanese decades ago, including having families in the North of repatriated abductees come to Japan and getting more information on abductees said to have died in North Korea, the officials said.
In addition, Koizumi and Bush may also discuss ways to attain peace between Israelis and Palestinians to bring stability to the Middle East and trade views on how to enhance bilateral ties and personal relations.
Following the summit and a lunch with the Bushes, Koizumi will depart for Cairo. He will arrive Saturday for talks with President Hosni Mubarak and fly to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Sunday for a meeting with Crown Prince Abdullah.
Koizumi's talks with Mubarak and Crown Prince Abdullah are expected to cover the rebuilding of Iraq, the Middle East peace process and the promotion of increased dialogue between Japan and the Arab world, the officials said.
Koizumi is scheduled to head back to Japan on Sunday night.
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|Publication:||Japan Policy & Politics|
|Date:||May 27, 2003|
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