News / Asia

    Kerry in Asia to Discuss Security, Trade

    Secretary of State John Kerry at the State Department, Sept. 19, 2013.
    Secretary of State John Kerry at the State Department, Sept. 19, 2013.
    Daniel Schearf
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has started a six-day trip to East Asia for meetings on regional security and trade.  Kerry will participate in a U.S.-Japan defense dialogue in Tokyo before joining President Barack Obama in Bali for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC). 
     
     Kerry arrived in Japan Wednesday one day ahead of the U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee.
     
    The strategic defense dialogue in Tokyo brings together the top U.S. and Japanese diplomats and defense chiefs.
     
    Japan's Kyodo news agency reports the two sides will discuss a schedule for revising a bilateral defense agreement by the end of 2014.
     
    The decades-old security arrangement outlines responsibilities for U.S. and Japanese forces in defending Japan.
     
    Tetsuo Kotani, a researcher at the Japan Institute of International Affairs, said the meeting Thursday to change that agreement marks the beginning of a new U.S.-Japan alliance.
     
    “So far, U.S. provides offensive capabilities and Japan provides only defensive capabilities, which is called 'spear and shield' division of labor.  But, from now on, Japan will possess both offensive and defensive capabilities which means Japan and the U.S. will (would) become more equal...partners,” Kotani explained.
     
    Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is considering changing parts of Japan's pacifist constitution in the face of China's increasingly assertive claims on disputed territory.  
     
    But a more capable Japanese military would upset neighboring countries who suffered under Tokyo's World War II aggression.
     
    Kotani said Japan wants to demonstrate it can defend itself. He said worrying instigators like China is part of the point.
     
    “We understand some Americans are concerned about Japan's move.  But, it's diplomacy, it's deterrence," Kotani noted.
     
    Also likely to be disturbed by such actions is South Korea, Washington's other key ally in the region.
     
    Renewed tensions between Tokyo and Seoul over history and territory have hung like a cloud over U.S. diplomacy.
     
    In one possible sign of warming relations, South Korea's Yonhap news agency on Wednesday reported joint naval drills this week among the three nations.
     
    Secretary Kerry will be joined in Tokyo Thursday by U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, who has been in Seoul for talks on adjusting the U.S. defense of South Korea from Pyongyang's nuclear and missile threats.  
     
    After meeting with his South Korean counterpart Wednesday, Hagel said they agreed to consider delaying a planned transfer of war-time military control to Seoul in 2015.  He also reaffirmed the commitment to strengthen combat capability and readiness throughout the Asia Pacific. 
     
    “The United States makes this commitment not only because of our mutual defense treaty but also because of our firm view that North Korea’s policies and provocations pose serious threats to regional stability and global security," Hagel said.
     
    He added that the two sides signed a joint military strategy for creating a framework on how to deter and handle specific threats from Pyongyang, including weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
     
    "Our particular concern is on North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, its proliferation activities and its chemical weapons. There should be no doubt that any North Korean use of chemical weapons would be completely unacceptable," Hagel said.
     
    After the security talks in Tokyo, Secretary of State Kerry heads to the Indonesian island of Bali Friday for regional trade talks among Asia Pacific nations.
     
    U.S. President Barack Obama is scheduled to attend the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum where he is expected to push for progress on a regional free trade deal.
     
    Negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) involve 12 countries from Australia to Southeast Asia to the Americas.

    Youmi Kim, a producer at VOA's Seoul bureau contributed to this report

    You May Like

    Former US Envoys Urge Obama to Delay Troop Cuts in Afghanistan

    Keeping troop levels up during conflict with both Taliban and Islamic State is necessary to support Kabul government, they say

    First Lady to Visit Africa to Promote Girls' Education

    Michele Obama will be joined by daughters and actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto

    Video NYSE Analyst: Brexit Will Continue to Place Pressure on Markets

    Despite orderly pricing and execution strategy at the New York Stock Exchange, analyst explains added pressure on world financial markets is likely

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora