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Japanese hostage is part of prisoner swap negotiation with ISIS but ‘our priority is our pilot,’ says Jordanian Foreign Minister

January 28th, 2015
04:03 PM ET

By Madalena Araujo, CNN

Jordanian Foreign Minister told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday that Japanese hostage Kenji Goto, who is currently held by ISIS, is part of the negotiations with the terror group, but that Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh is the priority.

“Yes, of course,” Nasser Judeh told Amanpour over the phone in response to questioning about whether Kenji Goto is part of ongoing negotiations with ISIS, which were made public on Wednesday.

“But as you know our priority is our pilot, but we are cooperating very, very closely with our Japanese friends and allies. It is ISIS, Daish [the Arabic acronym used for the group], that has tied the fate of the two captives together.”

Judeh also confirmed that the negotiations had been taking place for weeks and through intermediaries.


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Japan • Jordan • Latest Episode

After tensions, Japan-China relations normalizing, says former Australian PM Kevin Rudd

November 11th, 2014
04:42 PM ET

By Madalena Araujo, CNN

There are several reasons to believe that long-time rivals China and Japan have entered a period of “renormalization” of relations, Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe broke the ice with a somewhat anxious handshake Monday at the APEC summit in Beijing.

“I think it's six months of diplomacy, which lie behind that handshake,” Kevin told Amanpour, and that “the meeting between the two, however difficult that was, was the formalization of the beginnings of a renormalization.”

Rudd, now incoming President of the Asia Society Policy Institute, went on to explain why he believes the Japan-China relationship is now in a better place.


Filed under:  China • Christiane Amanpour • Japan • Latest Episode

China: American pivot to Asia needs ‘rebalancing’

May 20th, 2014
03:31 PM ET

Amanpour and Ambassador Cui also spoke about American hacking allegations against China. You can see that portion of the interview here.

By Mick Krever, CNN

The Obama Administration’s much-touted pivot to Asia, a careful balance between supporting U.S. allies and assuring China that America supports its rise, may need to be recalibrated, Chinese Ambassador to the U.S. Cui Tiankai told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday.

“I'm not questioning the intention of the U.S. government,” Ambassador Cui said. “I'm looking at the effect, the results of the U.S. policies towards Asia, towards China and what they have done and said recently.”

“And honestly, I think the key to this rebalancing is to maintain a good relationship with everybody in Asia-Pacific, including particularly China. And in this sense, I think this policy of rebalancing might need some rebalancing itself.”


Filed under:  China • Christiane Amanpour • Japan • Latest Episode

How Japan’s prime minister is shaking things up

April 24th, 2014
02:18 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Japan’s waters are full of riptides, but the country’s prime minister isn’t opposed to taking a dip.

U.S. President Barack Obama met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Thursday, the first stop on his high-stakes tour to four key American allies in Asia.

Notably absent from his list of destinations is China, whose huge economic growth, and the influence that comes with it, looms large over the region.

President Obama has reiterated his commitment to America’s security agreement with Japan, albeit while sticking as much as possible to dry, diplomatic language.

“Territories under the administration of Japan are covered under the treaty,” he said. “There's no shift in position, no red line; we're simply applying the treaty.”

If there’s apprehension in that statement, it is because Japan’s conservative Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, has upended the commitment to pacifism that has defined post-World War II Japan.

Among Prime Minister Abe’s affronts, according to his detractors: Visiting a memorial to Japanese war dead, among whom are convicted war criminals; refusing to apologize for Japan’s use of sex slaves in wartime China and South Korea; and a commitment to rewrite Japan’s constitution, which places great limits on the country’s military.


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Japan • Latest Episode

Chance of China/Japan conflict growing, warns former State Department official

December 3rd, 2013
04:14 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Tensions between China and Japan, at their worst in half a century, are making conflict “much more likely now than it’s probably been in years,” the former top U.S. State Department official for East Asia told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.

If a conflict were to break out, Kurt Campbell said, it would likely be a “small skirmish, probably easily contained.”

But the larger context, of "what is really the two great countries of Asia, China and Japan" is hard to ignore.

"Tensions between the two countries are greater now than they've been probably in a half century."

The two countries have long been loggerheads over uninhabited islands in the East China Sea – the Chinese call them Diaoyu and the Japanese call them Senkaku.

The heat was turned up, however, when China declared an “Air Defense Identification Zone” over the chain of islands.

The U.S. military responded by sending two unarmed B-52 bombers through the heart of the contested airspace.

America must make clear to China, Campbell said, that the drawing of a military air zone “is deeply provocative.”


Filed under:  China • Christiane Amanpour • Japan • Latest Episode