News / Asia

China Shores Up Regional Deals as Obama Cancels Asia Trip

China's President Xi Jinping (L) and Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak shake hands after their joint news conference at Najib's office in Putrajaya, near Kuala Lumpur Oct. 4, 2013.
China's President Xi Jinping (L) and Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak shake hands after their joint news conference at Najib's office in Putrajaya, near Kuala Lumpur Oct. 4, 2013.
Kate Lamb
With the continuing government shutdown at home, President Barack Obama has canceled his trip to two key Asian meetings, an economic summit in Bali and an East Asia security conference in Brunei, as well as stops in Malaysia and the Philippines. Analysts say the cancellation risks the integrity of the president’s so-called Asia pivot.
 
Obama’s planned four-nation tour was intended to strengthen America’s economic and military commitment to Southeast Asia.
 
But Aleksius Jemadu, a professor of international relations at Pelita Harapan University in Jakarta, said the cancellation raises questions about the president’s commitment to the region.
 
“I think Obama's administration has to convince again partners in Asia that the United States is really serious about the plan to focus on Asia," Jemadu said, "taking into account the economic emergence of countries China, India and emerging markets like Indonesia in the Asia Pacific.”
 
Over the next five years around 70 percent of global growth will come from emerging markets, with China and India accounting for more than 40 percent of that expansion.
 
The Obama administration’s “Asia pivot” was announced in 2011 as diplomatic and military outreach to a growing region considered vital to America’s future.
 
But with civil war in Syria, a military coup in Egypt and now Congressional deadlock at home, analysts say the administration’s attention has pivoted away.
 
Speaking from the Philippines, former U.S. under secretary of defense Walter Slocombe defended the U.S. commitment to the region despite President’s Obama’s decision to stay at home.
 
“The cancellation is because the president has to be in Washington to deal with a major internal U.S. political problem and cannot be outside for the long time that it would be involved," he noted, "it has nothing to do with Asia policy it has to do with the fact that we are in the middle of a political confrontation in Washington and the president has to be there to deal with it.”
 
But while the U.S. president has been consumed by the budget standoff, China’s president has been busy shoring up regional deals.
 
In a visit to Jakarta this week, Chinese President Xi Jinping signed 23 business agreements valued at $33 billion. In Malaysia on Friday, the Chinese leader agreed to boost bilateral trade to $160 billion by 2017.
 
The Chinese President is also lobbying for a closer relationship with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, a regional grouping with which it already has a free trade agreement.
 
China is one of ASEAN’s most significant economic partners, but its aggressive claims in the South China Sea have raised territorial tensions.
 
Analysts say Obama’s absence at APEC, will allow China ample room to court regional heads of state.
 
Wang Junsheng, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said although APEC is not important for China in terms of security issues, it provides an important platform for multi-lateral diplomacy efforts.
 
With 21 members, APEC represents the most vital economic bloc in the world and according to Junsheng, China will use this meeting to develop ties with member countries such as Russia and South Korea.
 
The APEC CEO summit will be held in Bali from October 5-7 and will host heads of state from across the region, including China, Japan, Korea, Russia, Malaysia and the Philippines.
 
The forum comes as the U.S. is working to secure the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a giant free trade pact among 12 countries. It does not include China.

You May Like

Hostage Crisis Could Divide Japan Over Plans to Boost Military

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Monday the government is working closely with the Jordanian government to secure the release of remaining Japanese hostage Kenji Goto More

Video Brussels Shaken as New Greek Leader Challenges Europe’s Austerity Drive

Country's youngest ever PM Alexis Tsipras, 40, sworn in Monday and says he will restore dignity to Greece by ending spending cuts More

Multimedia National Geographic Photo Camps Empower Youth

Annual mentoring program's mission is to give young people a voice to tell their own stories through photography More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid