Secretary of State John Kerry is wrapping up a five-day trip through Asia and the Pacific by focusing on climate change.
On Saturday, Kerry met with leaders in Burma. He then joined Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel for meetings in Australia on Monday.
Today, he flew to the Solomon Islands to meet government leaders and attend wreath laying ceremonies at the Guadalcanal American Memorial, and would fly on to Hawaii from there.
At the memorial, Kerry said he was there “with just enormous reverence.”
“As a veteran myself and someone who fought in a very different kind of war, I come here with utter awe for those who served here in the circumstances and the manner in which they served,” he said. “…We also take note in more ways than words could ever describe of the stunning bravery of those Marines who, against all odds, won the first major offensive for the Allies in the Pacific right here. This is where the difference began to be made.”
When Kerry met with Solomon Islands Prime Minister Gordon Lilo, the focus was on the environment.
“Can I just say, while the press is here, I want to make sure — I want them to hear how important we believe stopping here in the Solomon Islands is. We are a Pacific nation. The president is engaged in a major rebalance in the Asia Pacific. We have great concerns about — first of all, great ties with the Solomon Islands, as you know. And beyond that, we’re working together on things. We’re very, very saddened by the loss of life during the cyclone,” he said, adding that America was “happy” to provide $250,000 of water, and aid.
“But more importantly, we have $25 million in Asia Pacific climate change adaptation. We have another $25 million in mitigation programs. I know it’s of great concern to you. And in addition to that, we have huge historical ties that we respect enormously,” Kerry continued.
“So there’s a lot that ties us together. Our fisheries. We hope the Tuna Treaty is something that can be signed up to and furthered. We’re working together on illegal fishing. We thank you for coming to the conference that took place in Washington on the oceans. We want to continue that work.”