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Nov 9, 2015

U.S. welcomes Myanmar election, watching military to honor results

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Monday welcomed Myanmar’s election as a victory for the Burmese people but said it would watch for the democratic process to move forward before making any adjustments to U.S. sanctions.

Supporters of Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi were confident on Monday her party had won a landslide victory in the country’s first free general election in 25 years, with the biggest question whether the margin was enough to claim the presidency.

Nov 6, 2015

U.S. patrol sought to avoid provocation, not reinforce China island claim: officials

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Navy deliberately avoided military drills or other actions that could have further inflamed tensions with Beijing during a patrol last week near islands China has built in the South China Sea, U.S. officials said.

“We wanted to assert our rights under international law, but not to the point where we were poking the Chinese in the eye, or where it would unnecessarily escalate the situation,” said a U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Nov 5, 2015

U.S. says unclear if Taiwan-China meeting will influence Taiwan elections

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – America’s top diplomat for Asia said on Wednesday it was hard to see which Taiwanese political party would benefit most in January elections from a meeting this week between the country’s leader and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

But Daniel Russel, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asia, said he hoped Saturday’s meeting in Singapore would continue the positive momentum in China-Taiwan ties seen in the past several years.

Oct 30, 2015

South China Sea ruling in Hague could be mid-2016: Philippines lawyer

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The chief counsel for the Philippines in its Hague tribunal case against China over competing claims in the South China Sea said on Friday a final ruling could come as early as June next year.

Paul Reichler said he also believed that in spite of China’s rejection of the case, international pressure would eventually oblige Beijing to comply with a ruling against it.

Oct 27, 2015

U.S. Navy destroyer nears islands built by China in South China Sea

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Monday sent a guided-missile destroyer to challenge 12-nautical-mile territorial limits that China claims around artificial islands it built in the South China Sea.

A U.S. defense official said the USS Lassen was nearing Subi and Mischief reefs in the Spratly archipelago, features that were submerged at high tide before China began a massive dredging project to turn them into islands in 2014.

Oct 26, 2015

U.S. Navy to send destroyer within 12 miles of Chinese islands

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Navy plans to send the USS Lassen destroyer within 12 nautical miles of artificial islands built by China in the South China Sea within 24 hours, the first of more regular challenges to China’s territorial claims, a U.S. defense official said on Monday.

The destroyer’s patrol would occur near Subi and Mischief reefs in the Spratly archipelago, features that were formerly submerged at high tide before China began a massive dredging project to turn them into islands in 2014.

Oct 23, 2015

Pakistan says cannot kill Taliban while inviting them to peace talks

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Friday he had told Afghan President Ashraf Ghani that Pakistan was prepared to help revive stalled Afghan peace talks but could not bring the Taliban to the negotiating table “and be asked to kill them at the same time.”

Sharif, who was speaking at a Washington think tank a day after talks with U.S. President Barack Obama, did not elaborate, but was apparently referring to U.S. calls for Pakistan to crack down on Taliban and other militant sanctuaries within Pakistan.

Oct 23, 2015

Sharif says India arms buildup compels Pakistan counter-measures

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Friday Pakistan would be forced to take “countermeasures” to deter against any attacks, given a major arms buildup by neighboring India and its refusal to resume talks over Kashmir.

“While refusing dialogue, India is engaged in a major arms buildup, regrettably with the active assistance of several powers,” Sharif said in a speech to the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington.

Oct 23, 2015

Obama urges Pakistan to avoid raising nuclear tensions with new weapons

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – At a time of heightened tensions between nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan, U.S. President Barack Obama urged Pakistan on Thursday to avoid developments in its nuclear weapons program that could increase risks and instability.

In talks with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at the White House, Obama also sought help in getting the Afghan Taliban back to peace talks, something vital to his faltering bid to bring U.S. troops back from Afghanistan.

Oct 22, 2015

Obama meets Pakistan’s Sharif to stress nuclear worries, seek help on Taliban

WASHINGTON, Oct 22 (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama
met Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at the White House on
Thursday to stress concerns about Pakistan’s expanding nuclear
arsenal and seek help in bringing the Afghan Taliban back to
peace talks.

Washington has been trying to persuade Pakistan to make a
unilateral declaration of “restraint” over its nuclear program
but Pakistani officials said Sharif would tell Obama Islamabad
will not accept limits on its use of small tactical nuclear
weapons, given the threat posed by India.

    • 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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