Correspondent, EU foreign affairs and NATO
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Mar 25, 2015

Afghan president says need to find way to say ‘sorry’ to Taliban

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said on Wednesday that some members of the Taliban had legitimate grievances given the torture and ill treatment they had suffered and it was necessary to find a way to apologize and heal national wounds.

Speaking during a visit to Washington, Ghani said South Africa and Rwanda, which set up truth and reconciliation commissions to come clean about past abuses but not necessarily to punish them, had been most effective in “devising collective forms of therapy” for traumatized nations.

Mar 23, 2015

U.S. changes tack after diplomatic setback on China-led lender

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration, stung by allies who have thrown their weight behind a new China-led development lender, has turned its focus to a new front: exerting its remaining leverage to influence the bank’s lending standards.

For months, the United States had urged countries to think twice about joining the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank until it could show sufficient standards of governance and environmental and social safeguards.

Mar 23, 2015

Obama to host Japan’s Abe to discuss security, trade

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama will host Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the White House next month for talks expected to focus on their joint response to China’s rising power and efforts to finalize a major Asia-Pacific trade pact.

Abe, who will spend eight days in the United States, will go to the White House on April 28 to discuss a range of economic and security issues as well as a formal state dinner, the White House said on Monday.

Mar 20, 2015

U.S. veterans, Koreans seek conditions for Japan PM address to Congress

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An organization for former U.S. prisoners of the Japanese and a Korean-American forum say Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe should only be invited to address the U.S. Congress during an expected visit to Washington if he acknowledges Japan’s World War Two past.

Abe is expected to visit the United States at the end of next month and early May, and Japanese media say he is eager to highlight his trip with an address to both houses of Congress, an honor never before afforded to a Japanese prime minister.

Mar 19, 2015

Senators seek U.S. strategy to stop China’s South China Sea reclamation

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Leading U.S. senators expressed alarm on Thursday at the scale and speed of China’s land reclamation in the South China Sea and said a formal U.S. strategy was needed to slow or stop the work.

In a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, Republican Senators John McCain and Bob Corker and Democrats Jack Reed and Bob Menendez said that without a comprehensive strategy “long-standing interests of the United States, as well as our allies and partners, stand at considerable risk.”

Mar 13, 2015

Russia rejects U.S. concerns over Vietnam base role in bomber flights

MOSCOW/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Russia on Friday rejected U.S. concerns about its use of a former American base in Vietnam for the refueling of Russian bomber flights around U.S. territory in the Pacific, dismissing recent U.S. statements as “puzzling” and “strange”.

Reuters reported on Wednesday that the United States had asked Vietnam to stop letting Russia use Vietnam’s Cam Ranh Bay for tanker aircraft that have refueled nuclear-capable bombers engaged in shows of strength over the Asia-Pacific region.

Mar 11, 2015

Exclusive: U.S. asks Vietnam to stop helping Russian bomber flights

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States has asked Vietnam to stop letting Russia use a former U.S. base to refuel nuclear-capable bombers engaged in shows of strength over the Asia-Pacific region, exposing strains in Washington’s steadily warming relations with Hanoi.

The request, described to Reuters by a State Department official, comes as U.S. officials say Russian bombers have stepped up flights in a region already rife with tensions between China, U.S.-ally Japan and Southeast Asian nations.

Mar 6, 2015

U.S. believed security for Seoul ambassador adequate before attack

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. government experts believed security for the U.S. ambassador to South Korea was adequate before he was slashed by a knife-wielding attacker, in spite of current high tensions with North Korea, the State Department said on Friday.

U.S. ambassador Mark Lippert needed 80 stitches after his face was cut at a forum discussing Korean unification in Seoul on Thursday by an assailant who had made multiple visits to North Korea between 1999 and 2007. [ID:nL4N0W8062}

Mar 5, 2015

U.S. says N.Korea nuclear and missile work ‘of great concern’

WASHINGTON/VIENNA (Reuters) – The United States said on Wednesday that North Korea’s nuclear program and the increased range and precision of its missiles were of great concern, a day after the isolated Asian country said it had the power to deter a U.S. nuclear threat with a pre-emptive strike if necessary.

The U.S. mission to International Organizations in Vienna, home to the U.N’s International Atomic Energy Organisation, said the restart of North Korea’s graphite-moderated nuclear reactor could enable it to produce additional plutonium for weapons in the near future.

Mar 5, 2015

U.S. considering possible Middle East missile defense: general

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. military is considering sending its THAAD missile defense system to the Middle East, a senior U.S. Army general said on Wednesday, citing what he called an urgent need to respond to foes with missile systems and the will to use them.

General Vincent Brooks, head of U.S. Army Pacific Command, said no decisions had been made about deploying a U.S.-owned Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery in the Middle East or South Korea, another region where he saw an urgent need given the threat posed by North Korea.

    • About David

      "David Brunnstrom is Reuters U.S. Asia Policy Correspondent, based in Washington DC. Before moving to Washington in 2012, he reported from all over Western and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and parts of Asia as EU and NATO correspondent based in Brussels. Before that, he spent nearly 20 years in Asia for Reuters, with postings in Bangkok, Seoul, Tokyo, Hanoi, Islamabad and Kabul."
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