Monday, April 15, 2013

In Tokyo, Kerry defends U.S. strategic pivot to Asia

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry defended the re-orientation of U.S. foreign policy toward Asia on Monday as he ended a trip to the region dominated by concerns about North Korea's nuclear programs.

The "rebalancing" of the United States toward Asia has caused unease in Beijing, which has tended to focus on the military dimensions of the strategy and to view it as a way to contain China's rise.

On the final leg of a 10-day trip that included stops in Seoul and Beijing, Kerry sought to assuage Chinese concerns even as he offered reassurance to U.S. allies such as Japan and South Korea that the United States wasn't going anywhere.

"Some people might be skeptical of America's commitment to this region," Kerry told students at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. "My commitment to you is that as a Pacific nation that takes our Pacific partnership seriously, we will continue to build on our active and enduring presence."

The United States has beefed up its military presence in the region in recent weeks