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Jul 16, 2014

Kerry, Hagel to visit India to push strategic ties

WASHINGTON, July 16 (Reuters) – America’s top diplomat and
the head of its Defense Department will visit India in coming
weeks seeking to revitalize a relationship the United States
sees as a crucial counterbalance in Asia to an increasingly
assertive China.

Secretary of State John Kerry will represent the United
States in an annual session of Strategic Dialogue with India
scheduled for July 31, and he will be followed to New Delhi by
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in early August, U.S. officials
said on Wednesday.

Jul 15, 2014

Kerry confers premature knighthood on departing friend Hague

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday heaped praise on William Hague after his resignation as British foreign secretary, and even went as far as conferring on him a premature knighthood via Twitter.

“Will miss working so closely with my friend Sir William — when @WilliamJHague spoke, we all listened,” Kerry said in a tweet on his page on the social media site, to which a photograph of the two men was attached.

Jul 2, 2014

India seeks assurances from U.S. over spying reports

NEW DELHI/WASHINGTON, July 2 (Reuters) – India summoned a
senior U.S. diplomat on Wednesday to explain reports that the
U.S. National Security Agency was authorised to spy on Prime
Minister Narendra Modi’s party before he took office, and to
seek assurances this would not happen in future.

The U.S. State Department said it would not comment “on
every specific alleged intelligence activity,” but a spokeswoman
said she hoped that relations with the new Indian government,
which Washington is keen to develop, would not be harmed.

Jun 26, 2014

China looks to gain by joining big U.S.-led Pacific naval drills

WASHINGTON, June 26 (Reuters) – A giant U.S.-led naval
exercise began off Hawaii on Thursday with China joining its
Asia-Pacific rivals for the first time, but analysts doubted the
drills will ease tensions over Chinese maritime claims and some
said Beijing could use them to strengthen its navy.

Washington and its allies hope China’s participation in the
five-week Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercises, involving 55
vessels, more than 200 aircraft and some 25,000 personnel from
22 countries, will build trust and help avert misunderstandings
on the high seas that could escalate into crisis.

Jun 24, 2014

Japan, neighbors must put World War Two behind them: Singapore PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Singapore’s prime minister on Tuesday urged Japan and its neighbors to put World War Two behind them, saying that if they kept reopening issues dating back to the conflict it would be a “continuing sore” in their relations.

“One of the reasons Japan’s difficulties are not just with China, but with also Korea is because of reopening of issues that go back to the Second World War and before, which have never been properly put to rest the way they were put to rest in Europe after the war,” Lee Hsien Loong told a think tank during a visit to Washington.

Jun 24, 2014

U.S. says Thai military rule likely to last longer than expected

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Military rule in Thailand is likely to last longer than expected and has been more repressive than after the country’s last coup in 2006, a senior U.S. official said on Tuesday.

The official told a congressional hearing Washington was still looking at whether the big regional Cobra Gold military exercise held annually in Thailand could go ahead there next year given the military takeover in May.

Jun 20, 2014

U.S. says Thailand, Malaysia, Venezuela among worst human trafficking centers

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. State Department downgraded Thailand, Malaysia and Venezuela on Friday to its list of the world’s worst centers of human trafficking, opening up the countries to possible sanctions and dumping them in the same category as North Korea and Syria.

The three countries were all downgraded to the lowest “Tier 3″ status in the U.S. State Department’s 2014 Trafficking in Persons Report as they did not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.

Jun 17, 2014

U.S. condemns Sri Lanka violence, says minorities must be protected

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Tuesday condemned religious violence in Sri Lanka and called on the government to fulfill its obligations to protect religious minorities.

At least three Muslims were killed and 75 people seriously injured in violence that erupted on Sunday between Buddhists and Muslims in southern Sri Lankan coastal towns, officials and residents said.

Jun 12, 2014

Iraq shows ‘responsible’ U.S. exit strategy needed: Afghan frontrunner

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The frontrunner in Afghanistan’s presidential election said on Thursday he saw some similarities between his country’s situation and violence-plagued Iraq that showed the need for a “responsible” U.S. military exit strategy.

Abdullah Abdullah was asked in a teleconference with a Washington think-tank whether he was concerned about the U.S. “zero option” for Afghanistan and whether he would reopen discussions with Washington about its plan to withdraw all its troops from the country by the end of 2016.

Jun 11, 2014

U.S. agency urges Myanmar to scrap proposed religion laws

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Draft laws in Myanmar aimed at protecting the country’s majority Buddhist identity by regulating religious conversions and marriages between people of different faiths have “no place in the 21st century” and should be withdrawn, a U.S. government agency said on Wednesday.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom said the laws risked stoking violence against Muslims and other religious minorities, including Christians. If the laws are passed, it said, Washington “should factor these negative developments into its evolving relationship with Burma (Myanmar).”

    • 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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