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

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid