Technical problem delays Kerry's flight to Turkey

A technical mishap delayed US Secretary of State John Kerry's departure to Turkey on Saturday at the start of a globe-trotting tour focused on the crises in Syria and North Korea.

Kerry was to have left Washington at 7:00 am (1100 GMT) but a problem with the plane's door forced Kerry, his wife Teresa Heinz Kerry, security guards, travelling press and staff to disembark for at least two hours.

A second plane, which like the first was painted blue and white and emblazoned with the words United States of America, was hurriedly stocked and prepared for takeoff.

Kerry plans to meet Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in Istanbul on Sunday to discuss the unrelenting conflict in Syria, and is then due to hold talks in Israel and the Palestinian territories.

The talks are billed as a follow-up to President Barack Obama's visit to the region last month, with expectations building that the administration may take another crack at reviving the moribund Middle East peace process.

After his talks in Israel, Kerry heads to a meeting of G8 foreign ministers in London, before then flying east for his first trip to Asia since taking up his post -- a trip clouded by the recent saber-rattling by North Korea.

Pyongyang has said it is ripping up the 60-year armistice which ended the Korean war in 1953 and on Friday warned foreign embassies to evacuate their nationals, saying it could not guarantee their safety if conflict erupts.

Kerry will seek to pressure China, one of North Korea's only allies, to use its influence to rein in new leader Kim Jong-Un.