diplomatic relations

On October 21, Vietnam and the Philippines convened the eighth meeting of their bilateral cooperation committee. The deliberations focused on specific measures for advancing collaboration as the two ASEAN states are expected to lift ties to a strategic partnership next month.

Japan and Cuba plan to hold the first meeting of a joint public-private conference in early November in Havana as part of efforts to expand bilateral economic ties, a Japanese government source said Sunday.

After triumphs abroad, President Barack Obama is finding stern challenges at home to his foreign policy breakthroughs, facing hard sells to skeptics over U.S. shifts, first on Iran and now Cuba. Obama returned to Washington early Sunday still basking in the attention from his historic meeting with Cuban President Raul Castro at a summit of Western Hemisphere leaders. But Obama is certain to find a lessappreciative crowd in Congress than the one he left behind at the Summit of the Americas in Panama.

The issue of the so-called comfort women needs to be resolved for South Korea-Japan ties to improve, according to activists and the Korean women who were enslaved by the Japanese during World War II. 

February 3, 2015

The former Cuban leader and lifelong revolutionary makes it clear that he won't stand in the way of diplomacy with Washington. 

This past weekend, Sen. Patrick Leahy led a special congressional delegation to Cuba. It’s part of an effort to normalize relations between the two countries – relations that were severed in 1961 when Fidel Castro came to power. Leahy’s was the first congressional delegation visit since President Obama announced his intentions last month of ending the current restrictions between the United States and Cuba.

In an interview with The Washington Post in November, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called the U.S.-Japan alliance “the cornerstone of Japanese diplomacy,” a stance supported by the U.S. State Department, whose website asserts, “Japan contributes irreplaceable political, financial and moral support to U.S.-Japan diplomatic efforts.” However, such official comments on Tokyo-Washington ties are misleading, believes Sayo Saruta, the director of Japanese think tank New Diplomacy Initiative.