News / USA

Kerry Travels to Asia as Japan Moves Closer to Russia, India

Kerry Travels to Asia as Japan Moves Closer to Russia, Indiai
X
February 11, 2014 5:48 PM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry travels to Asia this week for talks with Chinese and South Korean officials. But he will not be visiting Japan, which is moving closer to Russia and India amid uncertain relations with Washington. VOA's Scott Stearns reports.
Kerry Travels to Asia as Japan Moves Closer to Russia, India
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry travels to Asia this week for talks with Chinese and South Korean officials. But he will not be visiting Japan, which is moving closer to Russia and India amid uncertain relations with Washington.

Japanese paratroopers are training to defend disputed islands in the East China Sea, as China increases naval patrols under a new air defense zone that includes the islands.

Standoff

It's a standoff that increasingly threatens to involve the United States at a time when relations between Washington and Tokyo are strained over the Yasukuni Shrine, which honors millions of Japanese war dead including 14 convicted of war crimes following World War II.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says he went to the shrine to pray for veterans without "hatred or hostility."  

The U.S. expressed disappointment and urged Abe to "find constructive ways to deal with sensitive issues of history."

Abe faces domestic political pressures, says American University professor Lou Goodman.

"He has decided, obviously, that he is going to respond to those and not worry about the international implications of that," Goodman said. "That's not good for international relations."

Beijing benefits

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi says Japan is trying to justify wartime aggression.

"Abe's defense only proved that he is stubbornly sticking to his wrong conception of history that goes against internationally acknowledged truth and justice," Wang said.

Beijing benefits from uncertainty between Tokyo and Washington according to Michael Auslin, director of Japan Studies at the American Enterprise Institute.

"We send a message to other allies that if a 50-year-old alliance can become undone fairly quickly over these issues and the two sides now have taken, certainly on the Washington side, to publicly shaming and criticizing the partner, for example over the Yasukuni issue, that all alliance relations can be similarly upset," Auslin said.

There was no public talk of the shrine controversy from Kerry and Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida last week. Instead, they focused on economic and military cooperation.

"No matter what, Japan is an important ally of the United States and will continue to be an important ally of the United States for the foreseeable future," Goodman said. "That being said, Japan, of course, is looking for other alliances as well."

Including Russia, where President Vladimir Putin described his country and Japan as natural partners, adding that he and Abe are discussing ways to end their own territorial disputes.

Indian and Japan

Meanwhile, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is working with Abe on new defense and trade deals, including civilian nuclear energy.

"It's very clear that Japan and India are seeing more commonalities between them and not waiting to see how Washington's going to act," Auslin said. "Now, that can actually be very good both for the region and even for the United States.  But it's not good if it's happening because both sides are frustrated and uncertain about the role that the U.S. is going to play."

Kerry begins his trip in South Korea, where Seoul has its own territorial dispute with Tokyo over islands with rich fishing grounds that may also contain large deposits of natural gas.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs