News / Asia

US Officials See Trade Progress, Share Global Concerns at APEC

(front row) U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (R) and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk (2nd R) pose with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (2nd L) and Russian Minister of Economic Development Elvira Nabiullina (L) during the APEC Ministerial
(front row) U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (R) and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk (2nd R) pose with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (2nd L) and Russian Minister of Economic Development Elvira Nabiullina (L) during the APEC Ministerial

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk says talks by Asia Pacific trade ministers, who have been meeting this week in Hawaii, have been productive.  On Saturday and Sunday, the leaders of the 21 economies of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum will be featured. The exchanges have focused on trade, and senior officials, including U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, have also discussed strategic and human rights issues.

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk says he expects that APEC leaders will be able to announce the broad outlines of a Trans-Pacific Partnership when they meet over the weekend.  He says the initiative could lead to a free-trade zone in the Asia Pacific region. The nine nations involved in the talks so far include the United States, Australia, Chile, Singapore, Vietnam and several other APEC members.  

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said Friday his nation wants to join the dialogue.  Trade official Kirk said in a written statement that the United States welcomes the move, but he cautioned that Japan must be ready to address barriers in agriculture, services and manufacturing.

He said APEC offers a forum for ambitious initiatives like this one.

“APEC has traditionally been a laboratory for some of the best and newest ideas in global commerce," he said. "And we believe the outcome of this year's meeting will help keep APEC's agenda on the cutting edge for the next 20 years.”

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also spoke with her counterparts at the conference about global concerns, holding talks with senior officials from China, Japan, Australia, Indonesia and Vietnam, and leading discussions with other APEC members.  

She noted that a recent report by the International Atomic Energy Agency raised serious questions about weapons-related work that Iran has undertaken as part of its nuclear program.  Iran has rejected the report's findings as politically motivated.

Clinton also repeated concerns about what she called the escalating violence by the Syrian government against its people.

On issues closer to home for these Asia Pacific nations, the U.S. secretary of state said North Korea poses a security threat to its neighbors while it disregards the rights of its citizens.  She noted that the United States held exploratory talks with North Korea two weeks ago, hoping to restart negotiations stalled in 2009.

“We made clear what we expect North Korea to do in order to get back to talks, including concrete steps toward denuclearization,” she said.

She said senior American officials have also visited Burma and reported on positive steps by the country's new government, including talks with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, enactment of a new labor law and changes to the law on political party registration.

“It appears that there are real changes taking place on the ground, and we support these early efforts at reform," Clinton said. "We want to see the people of Burma able to participate fully in the political life of their own country.”

She said remaining problems in Burma include the detention of political prisoners, human rights abuses and violence in ethnic minority areas.

APEC talks will continue through Sunday, as APEC government leaders tackle trade and other issues, including the global financial crisis.  U.S. President Barack Obama will host the leaders' summit Sunday and hold bilateral talks with the presidents of Russia and China and the prime minister of Japan.

You May Like

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' 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.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid