News / Asia

    US Ambassador Warns China, Japan Against Provocations

    Outgoing U.S. ambassador to China, Gary Locke speaks during a farewell news conference held at the U.S. embassy in Beijing, Feb. 27, 2014.
    Outgoing U.S. ambassador to China, Gary Locke speaks during a farewell news conference held at the U.S. embassy in Beijing, Feb. 27, 2014.
    VOA News
    U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke, who leaves office Saturday, warned against provocative actions by Beijing and Tokyo, who are involved in a heated territorial dispute.

    Ambassador Locke's comments, which also included criticism on China's alleged human rights violations, came Thursday during his final news conference at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.

    "We call on both sides to avoid any type of actions that would be deemed provocative, that would raise tensions. The last thing we need is some unintended incident that leads to unintended consequences," said Locke.

    Locke said the fallout could be "very severe" if, for instance, a fishing boat bumped into a navy vessel and someone drowned.

    Both sides in recent months have scrambled fighter jets and sent patrol boats to monitor each other's presence near a group of disputed islands in the East China Sea.

    During his two years as ambassador, Locke has faced accusations that the U.S. supports its ally Japan's claim to the islands -- a notion he again rejected on Thursday.

    Locke was tasked with helping expand the relationship between the world's two largest economies. He said he departs "with a spirit of optimism," believing the U.S.-China relationship is "positive and indeed will shape the future of the world."

    But, as he did in a speech on Wednesday, Locke also slammed Beijing for its crackdown on those who criticize the Chinese Communist Party, many of whom have been jailed in recent years.

    Locke said Chinese citizens have in recent decades seen an increase in the quality of life and standard of living, but he stressed that "human rights is more than economic prosperity."

    Specifically, he raised the case of prominent Uighur scholar Ilham Tohti, who was formally charged this week with separatism related to his comments on China's policies in the far-west region of Xinjiang.

    Locke said he was "very concerned" about the case, echoing a statement by the U.S. State Department on Wednesday.

    Beijing's foreign ministry on Thursday said the comments were a "gross interference with China's internal politics and legal sovereignty," stressing that Tohti is "suspected of committing a crime."

    Locke is the first Chinese-American to serve as the U.S. ambassador to Beijing. He often drew headlines in China for his relatively humble, everyman demeanor that stood in contrast to the lavish lifestyle of many Chinese leaders.

    He is being replaced by veteran lawmaker Max Baucus. The 72-year-old senator from the northwestern state of Montana has limited China experience, but a record of taking a tough stance on controversial Chinese trade practices.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora