n18
Menu
NEWS|Current Affairs 
   |

US Secretary of State John Kerry will begin a trip this week to China, South Korea, Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates, the State Department said on Sunday, at a time of high tensions in Asia over China's increasingly assertive territorial claims.The trip, which runs from Thursday to 18 February, will be Kerry's fifth visit to Asia since he became secretary of state just over a year ago, and comes before a planned visit by President Barack Obama in April to promote a strategic US "pivot" to the region announced in 2011.Kerry will visit Seoul, Beijing, Jakarta and Abu Dhabi "to meet with senior government officials and address a range of bilateral, regional, and global issues," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement.In Beijing and Seoul, Kerry's talks are expected to focus on an air defense zone China declared last year covering territory also claimed by South Korea and Japan, including uninhabited islands in the East China Sea. He is also expected to discuss concerns about North Korea's nuclear program.Psaki said Kerry would relay to Chinese officials "that the United States is committed to pursuing a positive, cooperative, comprehensive relationship and welcomes the rise of a peaceful and prosperous China that plays a positive role in world affairs."He will also discuss North Korea and highlight the importance of US-China collaboration on climate change and clean energy, Psaki's statement said.During his stop in Seoul, Kerry will discuss North Korea and ways to expand US-South Korean cooperation on regional and global issues, the statement added.In Jakarta, Kerry will co-chair the Joint Commission Meeting under the U.S.-Indonesia Comprehensive Partnership and meet the secretary general of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.While in Abu Dhabi, he will discuss issues of interest to the US-UAE relationship, the State Department said.Kerry has faced criticism for the amount of time he has devoted to peace efforts in the Middle East rather than the rebalancing of military and economic focus toward Asia in reaction to the growing clout of China.Concerns about US commitments to the region were highlighted in October when Obama called off plans to attend two summits in Asia because of a budget crisis at home.Kerry stood in for Obama at those meetings and held talks in Japan involving U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera in which they agreed to modernize the U.S.-Japan defense alliance for the first time in 16 years.Vice President Joe Biden followed up with a visit to Japan, Beijing and Seoul in December, but Kerry will have to work hard to counter a perception among many in Asia that Obama's pivot is more rhetoric than substance.On Friday, Kerry met Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida in Washington and stressed the US commitment to the defense of Japan and stability in the Asia-Pacific region against the backdrop of Chinese territorial claims.He said the United States and Japan were committed to closer security collaboration and reiterated that Washington "neither recognizes nor accepts" an air defense zone China has declared in East China Sea and would not change how it conducts operations there.The United States flew B-52s through the Chinese air defense zone after it was declared last year. U.S. officials have warned that any declaration by Beijing of another such zone in the South China Sea could result in changes to U.S. military deployments in the region.Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei attacked Kerry's remarks on Saturday, saying China's air defense zone was fully in line with international law and norms."We urge the US side to stop making irresponsible remarks so as not to harm regional stability and the China-US relationship," Hong said.Reuters

Downloads | Featured Wallpaper


Ek Paheli Leela

Brand Amma gets a boost: Couples at mass wedding wear headbands with Jayalalithaa's photo

from firstpost

Brand Amma gets a boost: Couples at mass wedding wear headbands with Jayalalithaa's photo

J Jayalalithaa has done it again. The Tamil Nadu chief minister definitely knows how to gain publicity and further your brand through a good deed.Amma Jayalalithaa is turning 68 on 24 February and in ...


In Memoriam: Sudhir Tailang's cartoons were incisive and spared no one

from firstpost

In Memoriam: Sudhir Tailang's cartoons were incisive and spared no one

By Neelabh BanerjeeSudhir Tailang has been always onestep ahead of me. When I joined The Times of India he had already left for The Hindustan Times... all I could meet was the easel Sudhir bhai used t...

Sabarimala temple row: Restriction on women's entry is a matter of religion, Kerala govt tells Supreme court

from firstpost

Sabarimala temple row: Restriction on women's entry is a matter of religion, Kerala govt tells Supreme court

New Delhi: The Kerala government has told the Supreme Court that banning entry of women of menstrual age in historic Sabarimala temple in the state, is a "matter of religion" and it is duty ...

Im an artist, a celeb, a nationalist and a flag-waver, I seek alms, I seek charity

from firstpost

Im an artist, a celeb, a nationalist and a flag-waver, I seek alms, I seek charity

There is a new breed of favour seekers in town. But unlike the ones who seek alms on our roads and squares, in the name of Allah or Bhagwan or by inciting our sense of pity by exposing their mutilated...

Rest In Peace: Cartoonist Sudhir Tailang passes away

from firstpost

Rest In Peace: Cartoonist Sudhir Tailang passes away

New Delhi: Well-known cartoonist Sudhir Tailang, who was suffering from a brain tumour, passed away on Saturday, his family said. He would have turned 56 on 26 February.Tailang's daughter Aditi told I...

All hail the new prince: Bhutan's royal couple announce birth of baby boy

from firstpost

All hail the new prince: Bhutan's royal couple announce birth of baby boy

New Delhi: Bhutan's royal couple on Saturday announced the birth of their first child, a baby prince, delighting the remote Himalayan kingdom where the monarchy is revered.The newest royal, the son of...

Why is everyone so reluctant to brand the attack on the Tanzanian woman in Bengaluru as racist?

from firstpost

Why is everyone so reluctant to brand the attack on the Tanzanian woman in Bengaluru as racist?

The Karnataka government was accused of utter incompetence and insensitivity in the handling of the affair of the attack on the Tanzanian girl. But events on Friday seemed to swiftly turn things aroun...