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Washington looks to boost presence in Northeast Asia through Kerry's visit Updated: 2014-02-14 14:42:37 KST

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said it is up to South Korea and Japan
to overcome their differences on matters related to history and forge a more positive relationship before wrapping up a two-day visit to Seoul and heading to Beijing.

"So while the United States obviously has a strong interest in relationship and in the security component of the relationship, it is up to Japan and the Republic of Korea to put history behind them and move the relationship forward."

Relations between Seoul and Tokyo have fractured in recent weeks over Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine last December and separate claims to the Korea-controlled Dokdo Island.
Kerry also said the ongoing animosity undermines trilateral cooperation between the U.S., South Korea and Japan in dealing with the provocative North.
Kerry also met with President Park Geun-hye and other key officials during his two-day stay, and reaffirmed that Seoul and Washington are in agreement when it comes to the denuclearization of North Korea.

“Today we reaffirm our commitment to a common goal. Which is the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean peninsula in a peaceful manner. We are committed to go into talks only if there is a clarity with respect to the steps that need to be taken for denuclearization by the North."

He also said China "can do more now to urge North Korea to begin taking action to come into compliance with its international obligations."
This was Kerry's second visit to Seoul and his fifth trip to Asia as the top U.S. diplomat.
Ji Myung-kil, Arirang News.
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