US welcomes China-Japan agreement, says Kerry

US welcomes the reduction of tension between Asia’s two largest economies, US Secretary of State John Kerry stated during a short news conference in Beijing on November 8. “We think that any step the two countries would take to improve the relationship and reduce the tensions is helpful to not just the two countries but is helpful to the region.”

Kerry speaks at the briefing on November 8 in Beijing. Photo: APEC Media Center

In the short briefing that lasted a mere twenty minutes, Kerry stressed twice that the US welcomes the “initiative”, which is an “outline of steps that need to be taken”.

“This agreement is a beginning, not an end. Over time this will be given a little more meat on the bones,” said Kerry.

Kerry was in Beijing on November 7 and 8 to pave the way for President Obama’s arrival next Monday and for the upcoming meeting between Obama and the Chinese president Xi Jinping.

However, Kerry chose to step aside the topic of the Obama-Xi meeting and focused instead on the key progress that has been made during the APEC meeting.

Besides promoting women’s economic empowerment, supporting educational activities across borders and advancing commitment to clean-energy, another major progress is in deepening the US partnership with the APEC economies on combating corruption, according to Kerry.

"It is a major step forward. Corruption not only creates an unfair playing field, it not only distorts economic relationships, but corruption also steals from the people of every country the belief that the system can work for everybody," he said. “It is important that the system is transparent and accountable.”

The Ebola crisis was another focal point of Kerry’s remarks. “I want to emphasize, across the board, we are not yet doing enough to curb and eradicate Ebola. The UN has identified one billion dollars in urgent need. In my meetings of the past two days, I urged all the partners to help to meet that need. I hope the response will grow.”

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