Prime Minister Taro Aso and U.S. President-elect Barack Obama on Friday confirmed that the two nations will cooperate closely in tackling such issues as the ongoing financial crisis, Afghanistan and North Korea, a Japanese government official said.
During their 10-minute telephone talk, Aso and Obama agreed to strengthen the Japan-U.S. alliance and confirmed to make arrangements for their meeting at an early date, the official said.
Obama said he would like to build a personal relationship with Aso and said that he feels a strong affinity. He added that he knows well about the Japanese city of Obama in Fukui Prefecture, where a rally was held to congratulate the victory of the namesake President-elect. Aso congratulated Obama on his victory in the U.S. presidential race and the two also agreed to closely cooperate in such global issues as climate change, the official said.
Obama's call from Aso was one of nine he took Thursday from world leaders who reached out after his presidential victory.
The global financial crisis was among the topics Obama discussed with key U.S. allies he'll deal with during his administration.
Aside from Aso, Obama spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter said the president-elect spoke to Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Mexican President Felipe Calderon, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
Sarkozy's office says they spoke for 30 minutes and characterized the discussion as "extremely warm" as the president congratulated Obama on a "brilliant" election victory. The statement said they discussed international issues, particularly the financial crisis, and agreed to meet in the "quite near future."
Harper's office said in a statement that they spoke about an international financial summit in Washington on Nov 15 and its importance for addressing the global financial crisis. Obama had no plans to attend the meeting.
The prime minister's office says the two leaders emphasized that there could be no closer friends and allies than the United States and Canada and vowed to build upon the relationship. Harper's office called it a warm exchange and said they agreed to talk again soon.
Calderon's office said Obama pledged continued U.S. support for Mexico's fight against organized crime and drug trafficking. A statement from the Mexican president's office says Obama told Calderon he was "conscious of the difficulty of the battle" and offered "decisive" U.S. support.
Congress approved $400 million in anti-drug aid for Mexico last June, but has yet to release the money.
In his conversation with Lee, Obama said the U.S.-South Korea alliance is a "cornerstone" of Asia's peace and stability, and promised improved relations between the countries, Seoul's presidential office said.
The United States helped defend South Korea during the Korean war and is its No. 1 ally. About 28,500 American troops are still stationed there to deter threats from communist North Korea.© Wire reports