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Aug 14, 2015

U.S. says China must improve human rights to make Xi visit a success

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The senior U.S. State Department official responsible for human rights said on Thursday that China would have to improve its rights record to assure the summit between President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping next month is a success.

Speaking after the first day of a two-day U.S.-China human rights dialogue in Washington, Tom Malinowski said there was “a growing sense of alarm in the U.S. government about human rights developments in China.”

Aug 7, 2015

Kerry says U.S. ties can grow if more freedom in Vietnam

HANOI (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday lauded the warming of ties with former war enemy Vietnam but said the scope of relations would depend on the communist rulers’ willingness to protect human rights and freedoms.

Kerry is Vietnam’s latest high-profile visitor from Washington as the former war enemies mark two decades of calibrated engagement since the normalization of ties that have expanded rapidly in the past year.

Aug 7, 2015

Kerry says Pacific trade pact must stay on track

HANOI (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry expressed the need to forge ahead to “finish the job” on an ambitious Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) during a meeting with Vietnam’s president on Friday, a week after lengthy talks in Hawaii ended with no deal.

Pacific Rim trade ministers failed to strike an agreement last week to free up trade between a dozen nations after disputes on issues ranging from autos and dairy trade to monopoly periods for next-generation drugs.

Aug 6, 2015

Kerry says U.S. will not accept restrictions in South China Sea

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday accused China of not allowing freedom of navigation and overflight in the disputed South China Sea, despite giving assurances that such freedoms would not be impeded.

Addressing a regional meeting in Kuala Lumpur that has been dominated by the South China Sea, Kerry said China’s construction of facilities for “military purposes” on man-made islands was raising tensions and risked “militarization” by other claimant states.

Aug 6, 2015

Kerry says Hiroshima anniversary shows importance of Iran deal

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday the 70th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of the Japanese city of Hiroshima underscored the importance of a deal reached on Iran’s nuclear programme last month.

Ceremonies were held in Hiroshima on Thursday to mark the anniversary of the world’s first atomic bombing. The city’s mayor, Kazumi Matsui, urged that nuclear weapons be abolished.

Aug 5, 2015

Kerry ‘notes’ Malaysian trafficking steps, urges more

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Wednesday and noted steps his government has taken to address human trafficking but urged it to ‎improve law enforcement and victim protection, a U.S. State Department official said.

Kerry’s talk with Najib, on the sidelines of meetings of the Association of South East Asian Nations, came just days after the State Department he heads took Malaysia off its list of worst offenders in human trafficking, removing a potential barrier to a signature Asia-Pacific trade pact, despite opposition from human rights groups and nearly 180 U.S. lawmakers.

Aug 5, 2015

Russia says no common approach yet with U.S. on fighting Islamic State

KUALA LUMPUR/MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia and the United States have not been able to agree on a common approach to fighting Islamic State, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday, after his second meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in recent days.

“We all agree that Islamic State is the common threat, common evil. We agree that we need to join efforts to fight this phenomenon as soon and as effectively as possible,” Lavrov said in comments carried by Russian state TV from Malaysia.

Aug 5, 2015

Water rises dangerously in flood-hit Myanmar’s delta; U.S. to help

YANGON/KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Residents of Myanmar’s low-lying delta region were bracing on Wednesday as flood waters from the north of the country began to flow into the area, pushing river levels dangerously high.

More than 250,000 people have been affected and 69 killed by flooding that was triggered last week by monsoon rains, the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement said.

Aug 5, 2015

China says has stopped reclamation work in South China Sea

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Wednesday that Beijing had halted land reclamation in the South China Sea, and called on countries in the region to speed up talks on how claimant states should conduct themselves in the disputed waters.

In June, China had said it would soon complete some of its reclamation on the Spratly islands in the South China Sea.

Aug 5, 2015

U.S. to send aid to flood-hit Myanmar: Kerry

YANGON/KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – The United States will announce an aid package for Myanmar to help the Southeast Asian country provide relief for the hundreds of thousands of people affected by floods, Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday.

The Myanmar government appealed for international aid to bolster relief efforts on Monday. Speaking in Kuala Lumpur, Kerry said that the U.S. embassy in Yangon was working closely with Myanmar officials to determine the priorities for the aid.

    • 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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