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Clinton in Japan for Okinawa base talks

By the CNN Wire Staff
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives in Tokyo, Japan, Friday for the start of her Asian tour.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives in Tokyo, Japan, Friday for the start of her Asian tour.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Clinton lands in Tokyo, greeted by dignitaries
  • High on the agenda in Japan is the controversial U.S. military base in Okinawa
  • Clinton's visit will also address escalating tensions between the Koreas
  • South Korea has accused North of torpedoing a warship in March
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Tokyo, Japan (CNN) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton started a weeklong tour of Asia on Friday for talks that are expected to be dominated by the escalating tensions between the Koreas.

Clinton landed in Japan for the first leg of the trip Friday. She'll meet in Tokyo with Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada. The daylong trip is expected to include talks about the controversial American military base in Okinawa.

The trip will also take her to China and South Korea, where she's expected to discuss the latest conflict between South Korea and North Korea after the South accused the North of sinking one of its warships in March.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak has said that North Korea's alleged torpedo attack the South Korean warship was tantamount to a military provocation and that it violates the armistice agreement between the nations, Yonhap reported.

North Korea in pact threat

North Korea denied that it sank the warship, which went down in March, killing 46 sailors.

"The secretary will hold consultations with all of her counterparts on the security of the Korean Peninsula, an issue in which we all have a keen interest," the State Department said on its web site.

North Korea has threatened to back out of a nonaggression pact between the nations, while the South Korean president has accused its northern neighbor of engaging in military provocation, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported.

High on the agenda in Japan is the Okinawa base, a divisive issue that has prompted renewed efforts to keep U.S. troops farther from the local population to avoid confrontations.

Okinawans have accused the U.S. military of serious crimes such as rape, drunken driving, and environmental and noise pollution. Nearly 100,000 residents held rallies last month to demand that the base be moved off the island.

A recent poll showed that 59 percent of Japanese believe the prime minister should resign if he can't resolve the fight over the future of the Futenma Air Base in Okinawa.

It's Clinton's fifth trip to the region as secretary of state.

 
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