The United States and Japan opened the door to new nuclear talks with North Korea. Kerry's message of openness to diplomacy was clear, however unlikely the chances appeared that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's government would meet the American's conditions.
Tensions have run high on the Korean Peninsula for months, with North Korea testing a nuclear device and its intercontinental ballistic missile technology. While many threats have been dismissed as bluster, U.S. and South Korean say they believe the North in the coming days may test a mid-range missile designed to reach as far as Guam, the U.S. territory in the Pacific where the Pentagon is deploying a land-based missile-defense system. In China, he secured a public pledge from Beijing, the lone government with significant influence over North Korea, to rid the North of nuclear weapons.
So far, Republican lawmakers in the U.S. have largely backed the administration's efforts on North Korea.
But North Korea's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea said the government had no intention of talking with Seoul unless the South abandons its confrontational posture, as the North called it.
The Chinese are wary of US force in their backyard, but US forces are "not up to debate." Although missile-defense decisions could be reversed if the threat no longer existed.