Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

A strong and special relationship

By Tao Wenzhao (China Daily) Updated: 2013-04-18 08:02

Kerry's visit consolidated ties with China and enhanced cooperation amid growing tensions on Korean Peninsula

US Secretary of State John Kerry has just concluded his first visit to China since taking office. His trip had three purposes: The first was to establish a working relationship with China's leaders, the second was to establish a strong and special Sino-US relationship, and the third was to consult with China over the security situation on the Korean Peninsula.

While meeting with Chinese leaders - President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang, State Councilor Yang Jiechi and Foreign Minister Wang Yi all had in-depth talks with Kerry - both sides agreed to continuously enrich the content of bilateral relations, achieve new breakthroughs in the depth and quality of their cooperation, and expand their common interests.

The two sides also agreed to issue a joint statement on climate change and announced the two countries will set up a climate change workforce under the framework of the China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue. As the two are the world's top energy consumers and greenhouse gas emitters, this decision will have great significance for the creation of a new international mechanism to address climate change.

However, with tensions on the peninsula escalating in an alarming way, how to defuse the tensions and continue to promote denuclearization on the peninsula was obviously at the top of Kerry's agenda. He also visited the Republic of Korea and Japan.

After the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution on March 7 condemning the third nuclear test conducted by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Pyongyang has been ratcheting up its warmongering rhetoric, including the announcement of a state of war on the peninsula. There has been mounting speculation that it will conduct a new missile launch or nuclear test in the coming weeks.

Regardless of the true intentions of the DPRK, the rising pitch of its war rhetoric is causing the United States and its regional allies increasing concern. In the ROK and Japan, Kerry vowed that the US would protect its Asian allies against any provocative acts. Besides holding joint military exercises with its allies, the US has strengthened its military deployment in the region, including the presence of the F-22 stealth fighter, the B2 stealth bomber, the B-52 strategic bomber and a nuclear submarine.

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