John Kerry uses regional visit to focus on Asia-Pacific ‘pivot’

Photo: United States Secretary of State John Kerry (R), shown here with Solomon Islands Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo (C), has used his Asia Pacific visit to reinforce the US‘ commitment to the region.

He sought to take the focus off the US strategic rivalry with China and place it instead on the role of cooperation in the region, ranging from economic issues to climate change and human rights.

In his speech, Mr Kerry outlined what he says are four key opportunities; creating sustainable economic growth, powering a clean energy revolution, promoting regional cooperation, and empowering people.

He says strategic and economic dialogue that took place in Beijing last month sends another clear message that China and the US - the world’s two largest greenhouse gas emitters - are committed to and working together at building sustainable economic growth, and significantly lowering their greenhouse gas emissions.

Pacific Island nations are not a part of the TPP negotiations, but with many Pacific nations already being affected by rising sea levels - among other effects of climate change - they will likely welcome Washington’s focus on the issue.

Mr Kerry stressed the need for rules-based resolution, and sought to shift the focus from conflict to cooperation. “All of us… understand that these disputes in the South China Sea and elsewhere are really about more than claims to islands and reefs and rocks,” he said.

One of the countries on Mr Kerry’s itinerary, Solomon Islands, is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

With tension over disputed islands in the South China Sea still high, strategic issues are as much of a focus as climate change.

Read more here: ABC


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