Friday, March 18, 2005

Rice to Endorse Japan for U.N. Security Council

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is pressuring Japan to end a costly boycott on American beef. She is also offering support for Japanese membership in the U.N. Security Council and, as she prepares to visit South Korea, trying to take a less confrontational approach to persuading North Korea to return to international nuclear disarmament talks.

Two officials described details of Rice's Saturday speech to Japanese academics and others (Friday night in the United States) on condition of anonymity.

Her speech at Tokyo's Sophia University was to be a lengthy statement of U.S. foreign policy goals in Asia and commitment to spread democratic principles, even in communist China, officials said.

She was saying plainly that China must embrace some form of open representative government if it is to reap the benefits of a globalizing world, one official said.

Concerning the U.N. Security Council, permanent membership is a long-standing Japanese goal. Rice's endorsement was to be the most explicit statement yet of U.S. support for Japan's request.

Rice was also proposing that Japan and the United States cooperate on distribution of international development aid, focusing on countries that accept their own share of responsibility, officials said.