Hillary Clinton, the U.S. Secretary of State, spoke at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit this weekend, urging for cooler heads from South Korea and Japan when trying to work out their territorial island dispute. Hosted in the Russian city of Vladivostok, Clinton says she used the APEC Summit to speak with both Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak to bring up the issue that it was in both their interests to work in a calm, restrained manner.
Careful not to appear as if taking sides, Secretary of State Clinton said that whether speaking of the Dokdo/Takeshima Islands dispute between South Korea and Japan, or the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands tensions with Japan and China, her message was the same: everyone involved needs to make efforts to reduce tensions and strengthen their diplomatic relations. Referencing the weakness of the overall global economy, Clinton warned that should these confrontations continue, doubts over the Asian region’s stability and peace could hurt everyone. The purpose of the APEC Summit is to promote economic cooperation and open trade in the region, and as a result, territorial disputes were not formally discussed.
The customary bilateral meeting between the leaders of South Korea, Japan, and China were called off in advance of the summit because of ongoing tensions over the last month. Clinton stated that she would like to work between the disputing Asian nations to help make sure their issues do not escalate any further. “We can’t let anything happen” she put it simply, explaining that raised doubts and uncertainties would damage the Asian countries, the United States, and the rest of the world.[via Fox News]