Not rebalancing APAC at expense of Europe: Kerry

Last Updated: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 - 10:47

Washington: US Secretary of State John Kerry has said the Obama Administration is committed to rebalance in the Asia Pacific region but not at the expense of America`s important relationships in Europe and the Mideast.

"As to the question of my commitment, our commitment to the rebalance, consider me equally as married to, if not more married, than my predecessor (Hillary Clinton)," Kerry told reporters yesterday, at joint press availability with the visiting Australian Foreign Minister, Bob Carr.

"But I think that the word pivot implied a departure from somewhere else. I don`t think that our rebalance and our engagement has to be at the expense of anybody else," he said.

"So I think we`re not rebalancing at the expense of important relationships in Europe and the Mideast and elsewhere, but we are rebalancing. We are going to continue the commitment and we will continue the relationships," he said.

"I think it can be with other people, which is what we view in the power of the TTIP. The Transatlantic Investment and Trade Partnership, which has excited the imagination of Europe as President Obama believes it should, is a huge opportunity for us to bring to the table with the TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a major allocation of rules of the road and the economic behaviour of the world which can have a profound impact on other countries," he said.

Kerry said he will be going to China, South Korea and Japan for a week in a couple of weeks.

He plans to travel some other countries when he goes to Brunei to attend the AOEC meeting there.

"So as I said at the beginning here, this relationship is on the move. The 21st century will be defined largely by the kind of economic partnership and security partnership that comes out of that, even as we maintain our current commitment and relationship in other parts of the world," he said.

Carr said Australia believes that Kerry is as deeply committed to American engagement with East Asia as was his predecessor.

"We believe that John Kerry is no different from Hillary Clinton in the depth of his commitment to engagement with the region to Australia`s north, and we welcome that," he added.

Kerry said his has been involved with the region ever since he was a Senator. "My first initiative when I was in the United States Senate was involvement in the Philippines. And I became deeply involved in the transition that brought Cory Aquino to power and ended a dictatorship," he said.

"And subsequently, I spent 10 years of my life working with Senator McCain to normalise relations with Vietnam, lift the embargo, and move to a new relationship. I helped negotiate the tribunals with the UN that took place in Cambodia," he said.
"I`ve had numerous visits to the region and consider myself to have spent a significant portion of my career in engagement in that part of the world. So I intend to continue that as Secretary in the ways that we`ve discussed today.
We`re going to continue to move forward," Kerry said.

PTI

First Published: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 - 10:47
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