U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry recently met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. The two addressed the full breadth of issues in the bilateral relationship, including climate change, the response to North Korea’s ongoing violations of UN Security Council resolutions, human rights and traffickinig in persons, and concerns about rising tensions in the South China Sea.
“We are two powerful nations, the two largest economies today,” said Secretary Kerry, “and we have an ability, therefore to be able to make good things happen when we decide to.”
A country of common concern is North Korea. The nuclear test conducted by North Korea last month and the subsequent ballistic missile launch violated multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions and posed a threat international peace and security. The United States and China agreed that North Korea’s actions merited a strong response from the Security Council, which recently adopted a resolution on the matter.
An area of growing tension between the two countries is the South China Sea. “We believe,” said Secretary Kerry, “that it is important for a diplomatic solution. . .to occur which follows the rule of law. . . . We want to halt the expansion and the militarization of occupied features. We think everybody benefits by true demilitarization.”
Maritime and territorial claims should be clarified through the use of international mechanisms such as negotiations or arbitration. Secretary reiterated that the United States is committed to freedom of navigation and overflight.
In his remarks to the press, Secretary Kerry expressed hope that the U.S. and China could continue to expand their cooperation to bring a lasting peace to Syria. The enforcement of U.N. Security Council resolution 2254 has made it possible for 114 trucks to deliver humanitarian assistance, food, and medicine to people who, in some cases have not had help in two years.
China and the U.S. continue to find common ground on countering climate change.
Addressing the overall relationship, Secretary Kerry stressed that the U.S. and China will continue to cooperate when and where their interests and values align.