By Matt Spetalnick and Julia Edwards WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Hailing the U.S.-Japan partnership as "indestructible," President Barack Obama on Tuesday hosted Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a visit to showcase deeper defense ties and advance a Pacific trade pact as the two allies seek to counter China's growing power in the region. "Today we welcome Prime Minister Abe as we broaden our alliance for our time," Obama said as he greeted the Japanese leader on the south lawn of the White House with a display of ceremonial pomp. "Ours is an alliance focused on the future." But even as both leaders sought to look forward, Abe is expected to be dogged during his U.S. visit by criticism over his handling of Japan's wartime past. Obama and Abe planned to use their Oval Office meeting on Tuesday to put their stamp on new guidelines for defense cooperation, a sign of Japan's readiness to take more responsibility for its security as China increasingly flexes muscle in the region.
By Patrick Nduwimana and Edmund Blair BUJUMBURA (Reuters) - Burundi's government told diplomats on Tuesday to stay neutral and not side with protesters who accuse President Pierre Nkurunziza of violating the constitution by announcing he will seek a third term in office. Hundreds of protesters took to the streets for a third straight day and were confronted by police firing teargas and shots in the air, as Burundi faced its worst political crisis since the end of an ethnically fuelled civil war in 2005. The United States, other Western nations and regional African countries had pushed Nkurunziza, 51, not to seek a third term. "In such a situation, the Burundi government asks you to observe diplomatic neutrality," the first deputy president, Prosper Bazombanza, told a meeting with ambassadors from the United States, Europe and African nations to discuss the crisis.