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.
William Ide
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

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
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.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs