Russel: Tensions in East Asia won’t be eased by single nation

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Feb 5, 2014 - 20:23
  • Updated : Feb 5, 2014 - 20:23
WASHINGTON (Yonhap) ― The Obama administration’s top Asia hand on Tuesday asked for South Korea, Japan and China to make joint efforts to resolve high tensions among them over territorial claims and the interpretation of shared history.

“There is an unfortunate spike in tensions in the region. It’s a matter of concern to all of us,” Daniel Russel, the assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, said at a press conference hosted by the Foreign Press Center in Washington, D.C.

South Korea accuses Japan’s Abe administration of trying to beautify its militaristic past.

Tokyo is also staging an aggressive campaign to lay claim to the Dokdo Islets, a pair of South Korea-controlled rocky outcroppings in the East Sea. Japan and China are also embroiled in simmering territorial disputes in the East China Sea.

Russel stressed those stand-offs are taking a toll on the global economy as well as regional and global security.

“The global economy is so important and frankly so fragile that we can’t afford to have the world’s second- and third-largest economies at odds,” he said. “We can’t afford to have Japan and China, let alone Japan, China and Korea, working at cross purposes.”

He said all the relevant parties should make efforts to resolve the problems.

“None of these tensions can be solved by any one party alone. There is a role for every country in contributing to a virtuous cycle of improved relations,” he said.

His remarks came amid news reports that Secretary of State John Kerry will visit Northeast Asia later this month.