Tillerson stresses cooperation in calls with Australia, Japan, South Korea | Reuters

By David Brunnstrom and Lesley Wroughton | WASHINGTON WASHINGTON U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has underscored Washington's intent to strengthen ties with Australia, Japan and South Korea, the State Department said on Tuesday, a move aimed at reassuring allies unnerved by the campaign rhetoric of new President Donald Trump.In separate calls with counterparts from the three long-time allies, they agreed to work closely to tackle threats from North Korea's nuclear ambitions and increased tensions in the East and South China seas, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said,'Secretary Tillerson reiterated the Administration's intent to strengthen our military alliances, our economic partnerships, and our diplomatic cooperation,' he said in a statement.Tillerson expressed interest in early meetings with his counterparts 'and expressed his deep respect for their nations' contributions to regional security, global prosperity, democratic institutions, and the rule of law,' it said. The calls come at a time of raised concerns in the Asia-Pacific about Trump's attitude to the region.During his election campaign, Trump appeared to question U.S

Reuters February 08, 2017 04:02:10 IST
Tillerson stresses cooperation in calls with Australia, Japan, South Korea
| Reuters

Tillerson stresses cooperation in calls with Australia Japan South Korea
 Reuters

By David Brunnstrom and Lesley Wroughton
| WASHINGTON

WASHINGTON U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has underscored Washington's intent to strengthen ties with Australia, Japan and South Korea, the State Department said on Tuesday, a move aimed at reassuring allies unnerved by the campaign rhetoric of new President Donald Trump.In separate calls with counterparts from the three long-time allies, they agreed to work closely to tackle threats from North Korea's nuclear ambitions and increased tensions in the East and South China seas, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said,"Secretary Tillerson reiterated the Administration's intent to strengthen our military alliances, our economic partnerships, and our diplomatic cooperation," he said in a statement.Tillerson expressed interest in early meetings with his counterparts "and expressed his deep respect for their nations' contributions to regional security, global prosperity, democratic institutions, and the rule of law," it said.

The calls come at a time of raised concerns in the Asia-Pacific about Trump's attitude to the region.During his election campaign, Trump appeared to question U.S. alliances with Tokyo and Seoul and complained that they were not sharing enough of the cost of the U.S. security umbrella. Trump has also criticized Japan's trade policies as damaging to U.S. jobs.More recently ties with Australia were strained after details of an acrimonious phone call between Trump and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull emerged and the former described a deal between the two nations on refugee resettlement as "dumb."

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is due to visit Washington for a two-day summit with Trump from Friday that is expected to focus on security ties in the face of a rising China and trade.Earlier on Tuesday, Japan's Kyodo news agency quoted Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida as saying that Tillerson had confirmed that a long-standing commitment by Washington to defend Japanese territory applies to the Senkakus, a group of small islands that China claims and calls the Diaoyus.

The State Department declined to comment on the Kyodo report but U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis reaffirmed America's commitment to its mutual defense treaty with Japan on Friday when he met Abe in Tokyo and in a call with Abe in late January. Trump said the U.S. security commitment was "ironclad.Turnbull's leadership was questioned after he was berated by Trump and an opinion poll published on Monday showed support for his coalition had slipped to its lowest level since he took power 17 months ago and that his Liberal-National coalition would easily fall if an election were held now. (Reporting by Lesley Wroughton and David Brunnstrom; editing by Diane Craft, Bernard Orr)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.