WASHINGTON, June 21 (Xinhua) -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada on Monday discussed the relocation plan for a U.S. army base and the sinking of South Korean warship Cheonan, said U.S. State Department.
In a phone conversation held Monday morning, the two diplomats discussed "the ongoing work by the expert group on implementation of the base relocation plan, and efforts to lighten the impact on the people of Okinawa," said State Department spokesman Philip Crowley.
On May 28, the Japanese government and the Obama administration issued a joint statement on the relocation of a U.S. Marine Corps base in Okinawa, saying that the base will be moved to the less crowded Henoko coast, Nago City within the southern prefecture.
Japan's new Prime Minister Naoto Kan recently said he will adhere to the recent Japan-U.S. accord to relocate the Futenma Air Station within Okinawa Prefecture, and maintain the U.S.-Japan alliance as the cornerstone of Japan's foreign policies.
According to Crowley, Clinton and Okada also discussed on their common concerns over regional and international issues, and agreed to "a strong response to the sinking of the Cheonan."
"If we feel they're appropriate in the future, we will evaluate them and do whatever we think is necessary to convince North Korea that there will be no reward for its provocative actions and it needs to change its current course," said Crowley.
Backed by the United States and Japan, the Republic of Korea ( ROK) has officially asked the UN Security Council to consider and take "appropriate" action over the sinking of its 1,200-ton Navy frigate "Cheonan" on March 26, which killed 46 sailors.
ROK claimed after completing investigations that the warship was torpedoed by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), while Pyongyang denied its involvement.