News / Asia

Kerry to Focus on North Korea, China on Asia Tour

US Secretary of State Begins Asian Touri
X
February 13, 2014
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has started a tour of Asia, where he plans to push North Korea to give up its nuclear ambitions and China to reduce regional tensions.
TEXT SIZE - +
VOA News
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has started a tour of Asia, where he plans to push North Korea to give up its nuclear ambitions and China to reduce regional tensions.

The trip is Kerry's fifth visit to Asia since becoming the top U.S. diplomat last year. It  includes stops in South Korea on Thursday, China on Friday, and Indonesia on Saturday.

After arriving in Seoul, Kerry said military exercises with South Korea this month will be the same as drills that have been held over the years and North Korea should not link them with reunions of separated Korean families.

North Korea, which says the exercises are a rehearsal for war, demanded in rare talks with South Korean officials on Wednesday that the drills be postponed so that they do not overlap with the planned reunion of families separated since the 1950-53 Korean War.

"The United States doesn't believe it is appropriate to link humanitarian issues such as [family] reunification to any other issues,'' Kerry told a news conference with his South Korean counterpart when asked about the North's demand on the drills.

Earlier on Thursday, South Korea said it had rejected North Korea's demand to postpone the exercises, which had raised the possibility that the family reunions might get scrapped.

The drills have also complicated U.S. efforts to win freedom for Korean-American Kenneth Bae, who is detained in a North Korean labor camp.

Pyongyang has twice withdrawn an invitation for a senior U.S. diplomat to visit and negotiate the release of the Christian missionary.

Sea disputes

Washington has been critical of what it sees as China's attempts to gain control over contested parts of the East and South China Seas.

Ahead of Kerry's arrival in Seoul, a U.S. official said it is "unwise in the extreme for China," to take disruptive and destabilizing actions. The official warned Beijing should "do nothing to upend the status quo."

The Obama administration last week called on China to clarify or amend its vast maritime claims, suggesting they may be inconsistent with international law.

Kerry also is expected to encourage Beijing to put more pressure on its ally North Korea to scale back its nuclear weapons program.

Climate change

In Indonesia, the last leg of Kerry's trip, climate change is expected to be a major focus. He is expected to deliver a major speech on climate change in the archipelago nation, which analysts have said is especially vulnerable to climate change.

From Jakarta, Kerry will head Monday to the United Arab Emirates to meet Gulf leaders on Iran nuclear talks, Syria's civil war, and Middle East peace talks.

Some have accused the White House of focusing on the Middle East at the expense of its so-called economic and military "pivot" to Asia.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid