Kerry in Seoul for Talks With S. Korean Leaders
by William Ide May 17, 2015
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in South Korea to discuss global, regional and bilateral issues with President Park Geun-hye and Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se.
Included on the agenda will be North Korea's nuclear program, and President Park's upcoming visit to the United States next month.
Earlier Sunday in Beijing, Kerry met with Chinese President Xi Jinping. A senior State Department official said they discussed a shared commitment to the de-nuclearization of the Korean peninsula and agreed on the importance of maintaining pressure on North Korea.
The official said they also talked about climate change, the nuclear negotiations with Iran, providing development aid around the world, and Afghanistan.
President Xi says that despite tensions, relations between China and the United States are stable and that he is looking forward to visiting the United States in September.
South China Sea
Kerry expressed concern about China's ongoing land reclamation in the South China Sea and highlighted the need to lower tensions, resolve disputes peacefully, respect international law, and to exercise restraint.
During a Saturday Beijing news conference with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Kerry said: 'I urged China through Foreign Minister Wang to take actions that will join everybody in helping to reduce tensions and increase the prospect of a diplomatic solution."
China says it has no intention of halting the effort, but adds that it is committed to maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea as well as freedom of navigation.
"China's determination to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity is as hard as a rock and unshakable," said Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
U.S. officials said this past week the Defense Department is considering sending military ships and planes to the South China Sea to enforce freedom of navigation. Beijing says any such move would be considered provocative.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang also said Washington and Beijing must work together to speed up progress on a bilateral investment treaty. He also urged Washington to loosen restrictions on high-tech exports.
Kerry tweeted that talks on areas of U.S.- China cooperation were 'productive.'
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