January 21, 2013
China Wary, Africa Hopeful as Obama Begins Second Term
China says it is "cautiously optimistic" about its relations with the United States as President Barack Obama begins his second term as the American leader.
The Xinhua state news agency said Monday that the "lack of strategic trust has become the main obstacle to a mature China-U.S. relationship."
But Beijing's foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said that advancing "healthy and stable" relations is in the "fundamental interests" of both countries. The U.S. and China oversee the world's two largest economies, but often have sparred over trade and currency issues as well as over Southeast Asian territorial disputes in the western Pacific.
Afghan residents interviewed by VOA's Ashna Television said they want Mr. Obama to prioritize peace initiatives in Afghanistan and invest in the country's long-term infrastructure and national security needs.
One resident said, "He should be looking at security and stability in Afghanistan. There is a growing poverty in the country and everyone including workers, businessmen and even the government are concerned about 2014, because they think Afghanistan will be abandoned once again following the withdrawal of foreign troops."
An African leader, the deputy chairman of the African Union, Erastus Mwencha, said the continent was not looking for "anything extraordinary" during Mr. Obama's new four-year term, but rather new economic growth.
"We are not looking for anything extraordinary for his second term. We have got an agenda (which is) first of all to secure development for the continent, and we want also to make sure we also see favorable environmental and economic relations (that) encourages trade, investment and ... cooperation,"' Mwencha said.
Obama was sworn in on Sunday in a private ceremony at the White House, with a public inaugural Monday on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol. He told a group of supporters Sunday night that the inauguration is a celebration of the country and its ideals.
"What we are celebrating is not the election or swearing-in of a president; what we are doing is celebrating each other and celebrating this incredible nation that we call home. And after we celebrate, let's make sure to work as hard as we can to pass on an America that is worthy not only of our past, but also of our future," he said.