World News

Kerry: US Committed to Asia-Pacific Despite Obama's Summit Absence

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told Asia-Pacific leaders that Washington remains focused on the region despite the absence of President Barack Obama from a regional summit that began Monday in Indonesia.

Filling in for Mr. Obama at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit on the island of Bali, Kerry said there is "nothing that will shake the commitment" of the U.S. president to a strategy of rebalancing U.S. policy toward Asia.

Mr. Obama canceled his attendance at the APEC summit to deal with domestic budgetary disputes that led to the partial shutdown of the U.S. federal government.

The U.S. president's no-show has disappointed his Asia-Pacific allies, who have been seeking stronger ties with Washington to balance China's growing economic and military influence in the region.

Kerry downplayed the U.S. government shutdown, calling it a "moment in politics" that Washington will "move beyond with strength and determination."

In Mr. Obama's absence, Chinese President Xi Jinping took the spotlight on Monday, telling an APEC forum that China wants to live in "amity" with its Asia-Pacific neighbors and sees the region as a "big family."



Mr. Xi also said he is "fully confident" that China will sustain a level of economic growth that it needs.

Ahead of the APEC summit, President Xi signed a $33-billion trade deal with Indonesia, and pledged to significantly boost trade with Malaysia by 2017.

President Obama had planned to use the summit to advance negotiations for a U.S.-led regional trade bloc that excludes China. He has set a goal of concluding a deal on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, by the end of this year.

Twelve APEC members are engaged in TPP negotiations: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.

Kerry told the APEC forum that Washington believes the TPP is critical to generating growth and jobs for Asia-Pacific economies by "unleashing a wave of investment and entrepreneurship" in the region.

Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed sympathy for Mr. Obama's decision to skip the APEC summit, calling it "quite justified." Mr. Putin said that if he were in a similar situation, he would not have come to the gathering either.

In another speech Monday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged to forge ahead with promised reforms to boost Japan's stagnant economy.

Media reports said the summit declaration, which will be released Tuesday, will stress the need for economic reforms to increase worker productivity, labor force participation and high-quality job creation.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs