News / USA

Kerry Heads to South Korea, China, Japan

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (r) at the G8 meeting in London, April 11, 2013.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (r) at the G8 meeting in London, April 11, 2013.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry travels to South Korea on Friday, to China on Saturday, and to Japan on Sunday.  This first trip to Asia will focus on North Korea and a series of regional disputes.

While in Seoul, State Department officials say Kerry will discuss an agreement already in place for a "proportional" response by the United States and South Korea to any North Korean aggression.

There will also be talk of South Korea's civilian nuclear program and President Park Geun-hye's trip to Washington next month.

Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says President Park's position on North Korea adds to pressure on Kerry to get Beijing to help with Pyongyang.

"The escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula may in fact require a new level of strategic discourse in the U.S.-China relationship sooner rather than later if escalation is to be contained, particularly given the unpredictability and political inexperience of Kim Jong Un, the domestic political pressure on newly-elected President Park in South Korea to respond in kind to any fresh military provocation from the North, and the absence of a Chinese 'Plan B' if hostilities were to erupt," said Rudd.

Doug Paal, director of the Asia program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, believes Chinese leaders are pleased with North Korea's appointment of a more progressive, Chinese-educated, prime minister.

"Park Poong-joo can be seen by the Chinese as a way for the North to undertake, as China has been urging for more than a decade, the same kind of reforms China has undertaken which would bring to North Korea economic and social stability that is elusive with their current failing economic model," he said.

That, he says, is an opportunity for Kerry to address Chinese concerns about an ultimately reunified Korean peninsula.

"And I think the president could authorize Kerry to say that the U.S. has no need nor intention of putting its troops north of the 30th parallel, except to extract the nuclear weapons," he said. "Now, can you live with that?  Do you want a South Korea that reunifies that is hostile to you or do you want to work with it?"

In Tokyo, Kerry will reaffirm Washington's commitment to help defend Japan from a North Korean attack.  Former U.S. Defense Department official for Asia Jim Schoff says China's preeminence in the U.S. approach to North Korea concerns Japanese leaders facing their own territorial standoff with Beijing.

"Our desire to have China be a part of our solution there will make Japan potentially a little bit more uncomfortable because Japan would certainly like to talk about the Senkaku Islands and making sure that the United States is strong behind Japan’s defense of those islands in the face of encroachment by China, so there’s a bit of a delicate diplomacy that Secretary Kerry will have to conduct there," said Schoff.

Schoff expects Kerry to broaden the diplomatic dialogue in both Tokyo and Seoul.

"Kerry will try to engage and bring Japan and South Korea, in particular get them involved in other global issues - Syria, Iran, Afghanistan and rebuilding and sustaining that transition there," he said. "So there’ll be this theme of America’s engaged in Asia, but we also want our Asian allies to be a partner in dealing with global challenges."

President Obama's just-released budget shows his commitment to a greater role in Asia with increased funding for social programs in Burma, economic assistance for Vietnam, military spending in the Philippines and support for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, ASEAN.

You May Like

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid