Old mates rekindle the flame of friendship
Updated: 2013-02-26 23:57
By Zhang Chunyan (China Daily)
Flashing his trademark smile, US Secretary of State John Kerry wrapped up his visit to Britain to continue with his packed itinerary - visiting more cities in Europe and the Middle East on his first foreign trip as US secretary of state.
The "special relationship" between the US and Britain was hailed by the British during Kerry's visit to London.
British news websites, newspapers and television all gave extensive coverage to the visit, including Kerry's meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague.
"John Kerry's decision to make London the first destination for an official visit as the new US secretary of state was seen as a matter of kudos by the British government," the Independent said.
Four years ago, Kerry's predecessor, Hillary Clinton, made her maiden voyage as secretary of state to Japan, Indonesia, the Republic of Korea and China, underlining the Obama administration's intended "pivot to Asia".
There is a special relationship between Britain and the US based on shared values and a common history.
It is because of this special relationship that Kerry was relaxed and communicative. BBC News journalist Suzanne Kianpour, who traveled with Kerry, described the flight to London: "Mr Kerry made a few appearances in the packed press section. Towering over us, the 6-foot-4-inch (1.93 meter) secretary shared some laughs and seemed at ease as he chit-chatted with some of the people who will be his shadow for the next few years."
Under the gilded ceiling of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Kerry, standing next to his UK counterpart, Hague, reminisced fondly on his boyhood visits to Britain ― even recalling a time he got lost in the London Zoo before being helped by a kindly stranger.
Of course, despite the cordial relations, the British are also rational about Kerry's visit. A headline in UK newspaper The Guardian noted: "John Kerry looks to old allies as US foreign policy focus moves west". The article stated that Kerry's choice of maiden voyage, to the UK, Europe and Saudi Arabia, has a familiar 20th-century feel.
"Washington has found it impossible to extricate itself from the Middle East, and that in turn has reminded Washington of its dependence on traditional allies, the UK foremost, in the bid to prevail on the world stage," The Guardian's diplomatic editor Julian Borger wrote.
UK media eagerly reported Kerry's comments referring to his personal ties of family and friends in the UK.
The remainder of his itinerary also reflected the enduring hold of old alliances and areas of vital US interests.
Some analysts noted that Kerry is expected to be more of a policymaker than Clinton, who was known for globe-trotting to prop up support for the US.
His first European tour, though, looks set to be about strategy and aimed at gathering support.
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