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China not helping with North Korean and South China Sea crisis

(29th Feb 2016) U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met in Washington .

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met in Washington this week on various bilateral issues and then held a press conference. But despite the predictably careful and cordial rhetoric there were few signs that the talks would lead to Beijing reversing itself and acting positively in the two most dangerous situations in East Asia: North Korean saber-rattling and Chinese military and territorial expansion in the South China Sea.

Reading between the lines of polite rhetoric from the news conference, a reasonable person would conclude that China will continue to support its ally, the brutal North Korean regime, and will not reverse its seizure and militarization of disputed reefs and islands in the South China Sea. That is because Beijing does not yet fear that an alliance of southwest Pacific/Southeast Asian nations is prepared to stop it.

Mr. Kerry emphasized the urgency of addressing North Korean nuclear and missile threats and protecting freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, which many consider undermined by Chinese military actions. But he left unclear how far the United States was prepared to go to address these threats.

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