Leaders in Korea, Japan welcome Osama’s death
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Leaders in Korea, Japan welcome Osama’s death

Leaders of America’s two major allies in northeast Asia offered their congratulations to the United States for the killing of Osama bin Laden.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said that the killing of Osama would “serve as an important momentum to end terrorism and greatly enhance global peace and security:”

Our government welcomes and supports the efforts shown by the U.S. government through this operation to eradicate terrorism. Our government believes this operation will serve as an important momentum to end terrorism and greatly enhance global peace and security. In addition, our government promises to continue our financial and material support for the reconstruction and peace of Afghanistan, including the continuation of the dispatched provincial reconstruction team

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said: “We welcome it as the significant progress of counter-terrorism measures,” but also cautioned that continued international cooperation was necessary to combat ongoing terrorist threats.   As if to underscore the point, Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa ordered stepped-up security at Japanese military based in the wake of Osama’s killing.

Both governments have been supporters of American efforts in the Middle East and south Asia following the the 9-11 attacks against the United States in 2001. Korean solders and civilians are serving in Afghanistan and its military personnel had served in Iraq as well.  Japan sent forces to Iraq as well and stationed naval forces in the Indian Ocean in support of America-led operations there.

It is still too early to know what lessons world leaders can draw from the operation that killed Osama.  Early reports indicate that this was a raid up to four years in the making and that it depended at least in part on information drawn from detainees.  We do not know if that information was gained through torture or not.