News / USA

Q&A: China Figures Prominently in Obama Asia Meetings

U.S. President Barack Obama waves to the media upon arrival Monday, April 28, 2014 at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, Philippines.
U.S. President Barack Obama waves to the media upon arrival Monday, April 28, 2014 at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, Philippines.
U.S. President Barack Obama wrapped up visits to Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines this week as part of a trip aimed at reassuring Asian allies of the United States' commitment to the region.  Although Beijing was not on the itinerary, China figured prominently in the meetings, with its territorial disputes in the East and South China Seas. VOA spoke about the trip with Alejandro Reyes, visiting associate professor at the University of Hong Kong's department of Politics and Public Administration.
(Q) What is your overall take on the visit?

(A) “In some ways President Obama achieved what he set out to do which was in some ways to make up for his absence at the APEC meeting last year and to reassert, if you will, that pivot to Asia the rebalancing. And I think in his stops, in Tokyo, in Seoul, in Kuala Lumpur and Manila, he did very well to achieve that. Both on the military security side and on the trade side. Now, whether in those areas things are going to move forward is another question but I think he brought that message across.”

(Q) What was China's reaction to the trip?

(A) “I think he [Obama] was very careful every time he spoke, to say that he was not interested in containing China, the United States is interested in a rising China and it was in the interests of the United States that China grows, the economy expands. But of course from the Beijing perspective, I would think, and we have seen already the reaction has been negative and that they see the President's visit as underscoring their view that the pivot has to do with containing China, and I don't think he could have changed that.
(Q) Many in China believe the United States is trying to contain China, and that idea has gained momentum after Obama announced the pivot. Do you think the Obama's administration will be able to change that?   

(A) “I think from the Chinese perspective, there will always be that, there will always be that interpretation [of containment], and I don't think the United States or anybody can do anything about that superficial impression that might be delivered in rhetoric. But I think if we look below the surface I don't think that it's all, things are all that difficult. “
(Q) In the Philippines, Obama signed the Enhance Defense Cooperation Agreement, which gives the United States more access to military bases in the country. What is the significance of the pact and how does it play into regional disputes?

(A) “The president was very careful to stress that this [Agreement with the Philippines on more access to military bases] was really manly for military exercise particularly related to dealing with humanitarian relief and such operation and general security around the region, and this was not meant as a forward strategy to contain China and deal with any particular developments related to the South China Sea. “  

(Q) Why did the United States push for the agreement now?

(A) “It is not inconsistent to what the United States are doing in the region, this idea that military to military ties are essential, you need to develop them in a region that really has no security architecture comparable to what you have say at NATO.”
(Q) Do you think there is a risk that by signing military pacts with countries like the Philippines, the United States could be in fact - like China has stated - creating more frictions in the region?

(A) “You can't avoid those who will say it's all about forward strategy to try and contain China, but the United States has similar agreements with access to facilities in Singapore, the United States has similar agreement with Australia, the United States is building more and more military to military relations with Vietnam. There will be those who say that if the United States does not do this it's irresponsible, so I think we have to be somewhat more balanced about it. “  
(Q) What can the United States do to change this perception of containment?

(A) “I think that it's important that the United States then pursue deeper military to military relations with China, because I think that's essential to show that their intention is to strengthen the regional security architecture and not really to contain China.”

You May Like

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs