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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs