World News Brief, Wednesday April 29

US and Japan announce new defense cooperation guidelines; Korean ferry captain sentenced to life in prison; EU urges Ukraine to reform, warns membership long way off; Baltimore riots lead to state of emergency; and more


United States, Japan Unveil New Security Guidelines

The United States and Japan announced (WSJ) new guidelines for defense cooperation on Monday, paving the way for Japan's military to play a more active role in security in the Asia-Pacific. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Barack Obama hold talks (AFP) on Tuesday that are expected to boost the bilateral security alliance and tackle tough negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement. On Wednesday, Abe will address a joint session of the U.S. Congress. China and South Korea are expected to closely watch (Guardian) Abe's week-long visit to the United States amid heightened historical tensions and regional maritime disputes. 


"The United States already has strong security ties with Japan, but they can and should be stronger still. With the stability of the Asia-Pacific region increasingly under threat, Japan must stand strong with the United States by its side. Tokyo’s decision to adopt collective self-defense is a good-faith effort to do more to support the U.S.-Japan alliance and other responsible stakeholders in the Asia-Pacific region," write Congressmen J. Randy Forbes (R-VA) and K. Michael Conaway (R-TX) in the Diplomat.

"[Abe's] determination to confront Japan’s challenges head-on that has won him the plaudits that will be bestowed upon him in Washington this week. But the hardest work still lies ahead. Whether Japan declines, re-emerges as a great power, or ends up somewhere in between will depend not on the words and deeds of its leaders but on the willingness of the Japanese people to face their country’s problems," writes Tobias Harris in Foreign Policy.

"If the United States and Japan lock arms, we can resist China’s bullying and reassert leadership in the Asia-Pacific. In the long term, a successful TPP would be a sign of renewed vigor in our alliance—in which all our allies could take comfort. And in the near term, the clearest sign of a successful state visit would be a firm commitment from Abe to eliminate the farm and auto barriers," writes Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) in the Washington Post


Korean Ferry Captain Sentenced to Life in Prison

An appeals court in South Korea sentenced (Yonhap) the captain of the sunken Sewol ferry to life in prison for murder on Tuesday. The ferry sank last year, killing 304 passengers, most of whom were high school students.


EU urges Ukraine to reform, warns membership long way off

Baltimore riots lead to state of emergency

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