News Column

U.S. Not Abandoning Asia, Kerry Insists

October 5, 2013

Armenpress News Agency

The United States isn't backing away from Asia, Secretary of State John F. Kerry insisted Saturday, as President Obama's canceled Asian trip set his policy "pivot" toward the region onto the back foot, reports Armenpress referring to Washington Post.

Acknowledging that Obama is missing opportunities for direct diplomacy with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin and others attending a series of international trade and cooperation meetings, Kerry was at pains to tell Asian leaders that they should not read too much into the absence.

That left Kerry, as Obama's stand-in, arguing both that the United States is every bit as committed to Asia as Obama's first-term promises led many in the region to believe, and that the government shutdown that led Obama to stay home threatens America's reputation abroad.

Republicans should "think long and hard about the message that we send to the world when we can't get our own act together," Kerry told a news conference on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting.

But the shutdown is a temporary "moment in politics" that other world leaders understand does not diminish American commitment or trustworthiness, Kerry said.
Obama has repeatedly canceled Asian visits, although he and top U.S. officials have also made a point of showing up for Asian events and stressing that the United States is a "Pacific power."

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