John Kerry’s Asia trip is costing us millions
US Secretary of State John Kerry has been doing his Asia stint in recent days with stops in a place where he has a history, Vietnam, and today in Manila, Philippines.
This trip, by looking at the headlines, is costing us millions of dollars in US pledges. And it appears the impetus for many of these pledges is the China threat.
First in Vietnam, Sec Kerry offered some harsh words for the Chinese who’s presence has been expanding and assertive in the area.
“Peace and stability in the South China Sea is a top priority for us and for countries in the region,” Kerry told reporters at a news conference with Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh. “We are very concerned by and strongly opposed to coercive and aggressive tactics to advance territorial claims.”
In response to Vietnam, Kerry has pledged $32.5 million for the Southeast Asian bloc, including $18 million for Vietnam.
In addition, the Associated Press reported that the Secretary pledged $17 million for those in the Mekong Delta to not battle China, but climate change.
Kerry pledged $17 million to a program that will help the region’s rice producers, shrimp and crab farmers and fisherman adapt to potential changes caused by higher sea levels that bring salt water into the delicate ecosystem.
Today in Manila, John Kerry was also very generous with the taxpayer’s wallet.
VOA News reports U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced $40 million in new military aid to the Philippines, a longtime U.S. ally involved in a territorial dispute with China.
The aid will help improve the Philippines’ maritime defense capabilities and boost counterterrorism operations against a Muslim insurgency in the south.
Ok, I know you’re saying, “$90 million is nothing, a drop in the bucket.” In the grand scheme of things, yes it’s relatively small.
However, Kerry is everywhere.
Since taking office on Feb. 1, Mr. Kerry has traveled 128 of those days, visiting 36 countries and logging over a quarter of a million air miles. Thanks to the State Dept. for the “real-time” data.
First off, all that travel doesn’t come cheap. I don’t know the exact figures, but I’m sure it’s a lot. (Maybe someone with kind of info can comment below).
Visited 36 countries? Ok, he is the Sec of State. But what if he is opening the taxpayer’s wallet at every stop on his 2013 worldwind tour–that adds up too.
We are broke, right?
Just a thought…