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

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid