Thursday, July 25, 2013

Russel: U.S. Policy in the East Asia and Pacific Region

Daniel R. Russel, the newly installed Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific, gave an Overview of U.S. Policy in the East Asia and Pacific Region on July 22, 2013 at Washington's Foreign Press Center. A 28-year foreign service veteran, Russel had served as special assistant to the president and senior director for Asian affairs at the National Security Council since 2011.

A transcript of his remarks can be found here and the video appears here and below

"And I can say with great confidence that there is no let up, no backtracking, no diminution of that commitment," he said at a press briefing. "First and foremost, the East Asia and Pacific region is immensely important to the interests of the United States."

He said Washington based its rebalance strategy on three "areas of focus" -- modernizing and upgrading America's alliances in the region, participating in and investing in regional institutions, and building better and stronger relations with the emerging powers in the region.

Washington's "enduring" treaty alliances with Australia, Thailand, the Philippines, Japan and the Republic of Korea "form the foundation of peace and stability," while China has dominated the administration's engagement with emerging powers in the region, Russel said.

In regard to Japan he "warmly" congratulated the ruling coalition for their success in the election. "If this is a step that will help facilitate greater continuity of leadership in Japan, I think it will be welcomed by all of Japan's friends," he added.

“It’s true Japan faces a range of thorny problems with some of its neighbors,” he continued. “These are problems that sometimes seem to get worse and other times seem to get better. We hope that all leaders and the public will be guided by a sense of wisdom, of shared interest, and will take actions and decisions with a view to the future."

“With respect to specific problems, including the issue of the territorial dispute in the East China Sea, the U.S. is very consistent and very clear, both with Japan and with China. We don’t take a position on the substance of the territorial disputes. We continue to strongly encourage a process, a diplomatic process that can manage differences in a way that will reduce tensions,” Russel said.
Additional coverage of the event can be found through the following news organizations: XinhuaThe Philippine Star, Mainichi Shimbun (J), Yomiuri,  The BRICS Post, The Japan Times

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