Speaking about Syria, Kerry indicated no changes coming in the Obama administration's strategy of nonlethal assistance for rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad's government.
Kerry, who is meeting U.S. allies in Istanbul this weekend, noted that more countries are moving toward providing weapons but that the U.S. was among those which "have chosen a different path of providing different kinds of assistance."
Several U.S. allies in Europe, notably Britain and France, are pushing for the European Union to amend its arms embargo against Syria to allow weapons transfers to the rebels. The embargo will lapse unless it is renewed or modified by May 30.
Diplomats who favor the change say no decision on actually supplying weapons to the rebels has been made but they argue that just revising the embargo to allow for the possibility will pressure Assad to step aside.
On Venezuela, Kerry refused to endorse the chosen presidential successor of the late Hugo Chavez as the winner of Sunday's close election.
Kerry was asked whether he recognized President-elect Nicolas Maduro, but the secretary of state wouldn't say yes or no. Kerry backed opposition candidate Henrique Capriles' call for a recount.
Having just returned Monday from a 10-day trip that ended with meetings in Seoul, Beijing and Tokyo, Kerry said the administration was determined not to repeat old mistakes when it comes to dealing with nuclear-armed North Korea, whether that includes promising food aid or making confidence-building agreements that the North has regularly broken.
The goal of the U.S. and all its partners is denuclearization, he stressed. China, the country with the greatest influence on North Korea, is on board even if it remains wary of putting too much pressure on its neighbor out of fear it might collapse.
Kerry also told lawmakers that the administration is making progress in its effort to hold people accountable for the Sept. 11 assault on a U.S. diplomatic installation in Benghazi, Libya. Several suspects have been identified as culpable in the attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, he said, and the U.S. is working through the evidence and making its case.
More than seven months after the attack, no one has been brought to justice.