Terming as “most consequential” the US’ ties with China, Secretary of State John Kerry today said North Korea’s increasingly “destabilising and provocative” behaviour will be the most important issue for the bilateral relationship in future.
In an exit-memo on accomplishments of the State Department during the Obama Administration, Kerry said a number of areas of disagreements existed between the US and China.
“We have areas of vigorous disagreement, including on cybersecurity, human rights, and disputes in the East and South China Seas. In the years ahead, there is perhaps no more important issue on the US-China agenda than North Korea’s increasingly destabilising and provocative behaviour,” he said.
“In our relationship with China, the most consequential of our bilateral relationships in the world today, we have built on the positive and productive relationship that President Barack Obama established with President Xi Jinping to expand cooperation on a range of global challenges such as clean energy and health, including paradigm-shifting cooperation in reducing the threat of climate change,” he said.
Kerry also said the two countries have worked together to increase stability in states like Afghanistan, confront global health epidemics and address development challenges.
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In a separate Defense Department’s exit-memo, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said tensions in the South China Sea must be managed as must the consequences of North Korea’s continued provocative actions.
“At the same time, the next Administration should continue to promote high-standards trade and investment, which will deepen partnerships in the Asia-Pacific region and underscore our strategic advantage in the region,” he said.
Carter said the Obama Administration had regularised military-to-military contacts with China at all levels, concluding two risk reduction confidence-building measures in an effort to improve transparency and reduce the risk of unintended incidents.
On the Asia Pacific region, he said the US favoured the development of an inclusive and principled security network that is open to all that seek to preserve and strengthen the rules and norms that have undergirded regional stability for the past seven decades.