Visitors look at replicas of North Korean Scud-B missile (L) and South Korean Nike missiles at the Korean War Memorial in Seoul on March 26, 2014. AFP PHOTO / JUNG YEON-JE
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U.S. President Barack Obama brought together the leaders of Japan and South Korea for their first face-to-face talks as a North Korean ballistic missile launch underscored the need for Washington's two key Asian allies to repair their strained ties.Washington hopes the three-way summit will improve relations between Seoul and Tokyo, which are clouded by the legacy of Japan's 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean peninsula and Seoul's concerns that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to rewrite Japan's wartime past with a less apologetic tone. That was precisely when Abe and South Korean President Park Geun-hye were sitting down with Obama in The Hague for their first meeting since Abe took office in December 2012 .North Korea's first firing in four years of mid-range Rodong missiles that can hit Japan followed a series of short-range rocket launches over the past two months and could help improve cooperation between Tokyo and Seoul. Japan and the United States also protested the launches.Abe has visited all 10 Southeast Asian countries and met with their leaders and also met five times with Russian President Vladimir Putin, but had not met with Park since becoming premier.
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