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What's behind John Kerry's East Asian Tour?

(People's Daily Online)

08:23, April 17, 2013

Edited and Translated by Huang Beibei, People's Daily Online

John Kerry made his first visit to East Asia as U.S secretary of state from April 12 to 14, covering South Korea, China and Japan. Some analysts pointed out that Kerry’s tour focuses on building good relations with China.
Putting pressure

Amid the increasingly tense situation on the peninsula, Kerry launched his first East Asia tour since he took office. Under the threat of North Korea ready to "go to war", Kerry appearing on the Korean Peninsula itself may provoke North Korea.

There is no doubt that one of the priorities of Kerry’s trip is the situation on the peninsula. Judging by Kerry's words and deeds of these days, you can clearly see that the United States is putting pressure on China over this issue. Bloomberg website article pointed out that Kerry held talks with Chinese leaders to persuade it "to play a more active role" in constraining DPRK.

Earlier, during the press conference held with South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se in Seoul, Kerry said," I think it’s clear to everybody in the world that no country in the world has as close a relationship or as significant an impact on the DPRK than China. "

However, the Western media have divided views over the United States pressuring China over the Korean Peninsula issue. Spanish website El Pais pointed out that the United States cannot shift the responsibility to China to solve this problem. Boston Globe in the United States stressed that Washington cannot convince Beijing to believe that the United States rebalancing Asia is not to contain China. Washington needs to seek political and diplomatic balance with China, and to encourage its allies to do the same. Cooperation is a two-way street.

Shi Yinhong, professor of International Relations and director of Centre on American Studies at Renmin University of China said, compared with the past, the United States has shown the intention for dialogue and consultation over the situation on the peninsula, and such adjustment highlights the "stabilizing" role China plays in resolving the crisis.

Appeasing allies

Media around the world generally thinks to appease two allies, South Korea and Japan, is one of the goals of Kerry’s trip.

Park Geun-hye, South Korean President began to "release a mild signal and proposed dialogue with North Korea. South Korean government suddenly changed from condemning North Korea to calling for direct dialogue with North Korea. This attitude change triggered speculation. Some say that North and South Korea may have secret contacts, and have reached a consensus on certain issues. Some suggested that South Korea issued signals for dialogue with the DPRK before Kerry’s visit, and this means South Korea and the U.S. have reached a tacit understanding on this.

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