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

Ukraine President Appeals for More US Support

Speaking before Congress ahead of meeting with President Obama, Petro Poroshenko urges lawmakers to back Ukraine in its quest for freedom and democracy More

Photogallery Global Audience Watches as Scots Go to Polls

People were almost equally divided over a vote for independence, watched closely by Britain's allies, investors and restive regions at home and abroad More

China to Invest $20B in India Amid Border Dispute

Border spat between armies of two countries in Himalayas underlines mutual tensions despite growing commercial ties highlighted by Xi Jinping's high-profile visit 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