- The Washington Times - Friday, September 4, 2009

JAPAN STILL A FRIEND

The incoming Japanese prime minister Thursday reassured President Obama and the U.S. ambassador in Tokyo that security relations with Washington will remain the “foundation” of Japan’s foreign policy under his administration, despite his campaign rhetoric.

Yukio Hatoyama told reporters in the Japanese capital that he held “cordial” talks with Mr. Obama early Thursday and with Ambassador John Roos later in the day.

“I think we will have good relations,” Mr. Hatoyama said, adding that he told the president and the ambassador that the U.S.-Japan security arrangements will be the “foundation” of the bilateral relations.

Mr. Roos called his talks with Mr. Hatoyama “very warm.”

“We spent a lot of time talking about how to enhance and further deepen that relationship across a broad range of issues,” he said. Mr. Obama is “very much looking forward to working with the incoming prime minister,” Mr. Roos noted.

During the campaign, Mr. Hatoyama criticized the “U.S.-led globalization and market fundamentalism.” That and other statements led some U.S. observers to predict that Mr. Hatoyama and his Democratic Party of Japan would steer Japan away from its long-standing pro-American policies. His party ended nearly 50 uninterrupted years of parliamentary rule by the Liberal Democratic Party in elections Sunday.

Mr. Hatoyama is due to take office Sept. 16.

MISTAKE IN BANGLADESH

“Ambassadors never say that their countries made a mistake. They just imply it.”

After saying those words, U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh James Moriarty made a little diplomatic history. He admitted his country made a mistake.

The United States made a “tragic mistake” in 1971 by failing to support Bangladesh in its war of independence from Pakistan, and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy “helped my country correct” it, Mr. Moriarty told Bangladeshi guests Wednesday at a memorial service for the Massachusetts Democrat, who died last week.

Mr. Kennedy helped bring international attention to the plight of millions of Bangladeshi refugees who fled to India when he visited a refugee camp in 1971.

“When Sen. Kennedy visited the refugee camps in West Bengal [India], he exposed the people of the United States, and much of the world, to the humanitarian disaster that was occurring for the first time,” Mr. Moriarty said.

“Sen. Kennedy’s visit and continued support for Bangladesh independence had a great impact on public opinion and debate. I have no doubt that his efforts led to the early recognition of Bangladesh by the U.S.”

Foreign Minister Dipu Moni expressed her feelings for Mr. Kennedy when she signed a condolence book at the U.S. Embassy.

“You carved out a space in my mind during my childhood when you stood by us in our exercise of the right to self-determination as a nation,” she wrote.

Some historians believe that as many as 3 million people died during the war that lasted 10 months. Estimates of the number of refugees run as high as 10 million.

DIPLOMATIC DEFINITION

“A diplomat’s life is made up of three ingredients: protocol, Geritol and alcohol.”

- Adlai Stevenson (1900-1965, American statesman and ambassador)

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison @washingtontimes.com.

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