US Secretary of State John Kerry speaks at the State Department in Washington, Friday, Feb. 7, 2014, after a meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida. Photo: AP
US Secretary of State John Kerry will discuss ways of cooperation with China during his upcoming trip to four Asian countries, said a US State Department spokeswoman on Monday, while refuting speculation that the exclusion of Japan from the trip signals an escalation of tensions between the two allies.
Kerry will begin a trip to China, South Korea, Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates on February 13, which will be his fifth visit to Asia since he became Secretary of State just over a year ago.
Kerry will visit Beijing on February 14 and 15, when he will meet with senior government officials and convey the message that the US is committed to pursuing a positive, cooperative, comprehensive relationship, and welcomes the rise of a peaceful and prosperous China that plays a positive role in world affairs, said the US State Department.
The secretary of state will discuss all the possible ways of cooperation with China, a latest diplomatic effort after last year’s Sunnylands summit, where US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping decided to build a new type of great power relationship, said State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf.
Despite divergences, the US and China have long been collaborating on the nuclear issue of North Korea and Iran through sincere dialogues, which demonstrates the strength of the partnership between the two countries, Harf added.
According to Harf, Kerry will reiterate US standpoint on the territorial disputes in the East and South China Seas, at a time of high tensions in the region.
The US has recently criticized China for setting up an air defense identification zone in the East China Sea and urged Beijing to clarify or adjust its territorial claims in the South China Sea.
Beijing called on the US to adopt a rational and impartial attitude in commenting on China’s territorial claims and urged it to play a constructive role in promoting the prosperity and stability of the region.
Analysts said that the exclusion of Japan from Kerry’s Asian trip indicates that the US deliberately shows a cold shoulder to Tokyo, especially after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe paid homage to the Yasukuni shrine late last year.
Harf said that Japan is a key ally of the US and that the schedule does not signify tensions between the two countries.
(The article is translated by Ding Yi)