Lesley's Feed
Aug 14, 2014

Kerry says constructive relations with China needed for regional stability

HONOLULU (Reuters) – A constructive relationship between Washington and Beijing is necessary to maintaining regional stability despite China’s behavior in the South China Sea, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday at the end of an eight-day trip to Asia.

In a speech in Hawaii, Kerry focused on the Obama administration’s so-called pivot to Asia instead of crises engulfing Iraq, Afghanistan, Gaza and Ukraine.

Aug 13, 2014

Kerry raises climate change in brief Solomons stop

HONIARA Solomon Islands (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry flagged cooperation on tackling climate change during a brief stop in the Solomon Islands on Wednesday, where he emphasised ties dating back to World War Two.

Kerry is the first secretary of state to visit the Solomon Islands. His trip is viewed as an important part of President Barack Obama’s strategic rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region, something that has irked China and been questioned by allies who wonder about the extent of U.S. commitment there.

Aug 12, 2014

U.S., Australia push for global response to Middle East foreign fighters

SYDNEY (Reuters) – The United States and Australia plan to push the United Nations to adopt international standards to deal with growing numbers of foreign fighters in Middle East conflicts and the threat they could pose when they return to their home countries.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday he would take the issue to the United Nations later this year, calling for the adoption of a “best practice” that all countries can follow to reduce the threat.

Aug 11, 2014

U.S. to monitor South China Sea for de-escalation after China rebuff

SYDNEY, Aug 11 (Reuters) – The United States will monitor
the South China Sea to see whether “de-escalatory steps” are
being taken, a U.S. State Department official said on Monday, a
day after China resisted pressure to rein in actions in the
disputed waters.

The official spoke as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry
arrived in Sydney for talks on regional security with Australian
officials, that will also involve Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

Aug 11, 2014

Kerry says formation of Iraqi government critical for stability

SYDNEY (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday the formation of an Iraqi government was critical for stability and urged Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki not to stoke political tensions further.

U.S. President Barack Obama has urged Iraqi political leaders to bury their sectarian differences and form a more inclusive government that can unite Iraqis against Islamic State militants.

Aug 11, 2014

US to monitor South China Sea, talks with Australia on regional defense

SYDNEY (Reuters) – The United States will monitor actions in the South China Sea to see whether “deescalate steps” are being taken, a senior State Department official said on Monday, a day after Beijing repelled U.S. pressure to rein in its actions in the disputed waters.

The official spoke as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Sydney for a meeting with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagen and Australian officials to discuss increased defense and cyber security cooperation.

Aug 10, 2014

China rebuffs U.S. efforts on South China Sea tensions

NAYPYITAW, Aug 10 (Reuters) – China appeared to rebuff
pressure from the United States to rein in its assertive actions
in the South China Sea on Sunday as Southeast Asian nations
declined to overtly back Washington’s proposal for a freeze on
provocative acts.

The lack of progress in resolving the maritime tensions at
Asia’s highest-profile diplomatic meeting so far this year shows
the tough task Washington faces in persuading smaller Asian
nations to risk antagonising the region’s rising power.

Aug 10, 2014

U.S. says Southeast Asia concern over China at ‘all-time high’

NAYPYITAW (Reuters) – Southeast Asian countries on Sunday expressed concern over “increased tensions” in the South China Sea and called for stepped-up talks with China, in what the United States said was a setback for Beijing’s efforts to play down the disputes.

But there was no specific mention of China in the final statement from an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting and the 10 nations did not take up a U.S. and Philippine call for a freeze on provocative acts in the sea.

Aug 9, 2014

US’s Kerry presses Myanmar leaders on human rights, reforms

NAYPYIDAW, Myanmar, Aug 9 (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of
State John Kerry on Saturday pressed Myanmar’s political leaders
on Washington’s human rights concerns and urged its President
Thein Sein to step up constitutional reforms to ensure elections
next year are fully credible.

Kerry, in Myanmar’s capital for the ASEAN Regional Forum,
met Thein Sein and discussed plans for elections in 2015,
concerns over the treatment of the minority Muslim Rohingya, as
well as the jailing of journalists, a senior State Department
official said.

Aug 9, 2014

U.S. call for South China Sea ‘freeze’ gets cool response from China

NAYPYIDAW (Reuters) – A U.S. proposal for a freeze on provocative acts in the South China Sea got a cool response from China and some Southeast Asian nations on Saturday, an apparent setback to Washington’s efforts to rein in China’s assertive actions.

To China’s annoyance, the United States is using a regional meeting in Myanmar this weekend to step up its engagement in the maritime tension by calling for a moratorium on actions such as China’s planting of a giant oil rig in Vietnamese waters in May.