News / Asia

China Watching Obama's Burma Visit

Barack Obama is the first U.S. president to visit Burma. It is part of a trip to Asia meant to reinforce Washington's so-called "Asia pivot" which has raised concerns in Beijing about greater U.S. influence in the region.

U.S. officials say the president's visit recognizes the decision by Burmese leaders to embark on a path of reform and democratization after decades of repression.

Tom Donilon, Obama's national security advisor, says the president believes engagement is the best way to encourage further reforms.

"There’s a lot more to be done, and we are not going to miss this moment in terms of our opportunity to push this along and to try to lock in as much reform and lock in this path forward as best we can," he said.

Donilon says the United States is encouraging Burmese authorities to collaborate further with both the international community and domestic civil society. It is part of what the Obama administration calls a "rebalancing toward the Asia-Pacific" - a move toward greater U.S. military, diplomatic, and commercial presence in Asia that has caused anxiety in China.

"The idea is to persuade the Chinese that the American rebalancing is good for China," said Michael Pillsbury, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute who worked for former Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Herbert Walker Bush.

He says Chinese leaders see the Burma visit as further evidence of U.S. deception about the aims of its Asia pivot.

"The U.S. is portrayed basically to Chinese youth and to Chinese university students and I am afraid to Chinese officials as a very crafty, dangerous, highly-coordinated, ruthless, cunning power that in many ways China would like to emulate," he added.

 "Every move the American government is taking, including Obama's visit to Burma is now clearly taken as a geo-strategic move," said professor Xiang Lanxin, who chairs international affairs studies at Shanghai's Fudan University. "It is not something promoting Myanmar democracy. That's not even the issue here. The issue is to wean Myanmar, Burma away from the Chinese strategic borders. You keep on saying this has nothing to do with China. But the Chinese exactly think everything has to do with China. You keep on using this kind of language to try to reduce the psychological burden on the China side. It's not working."

Michael Pillsbury says China's view of President Obama's trip to Burma shows how much the Asia pivot has roiled relations between Washington and Beijing.

"What I think both Professor Xiang and I are trying to convey is the idea of two sides with some degree of distrust, even paranoia, each focusing on events and activities that may in fact be innocent but no one quite knowing," he said.

U.S. officials say they have discussed with their Chinese counterparts the reforms they would like to see in Burma and believe it is a shared goal that is in the interests of everyone in the region.

You May Like

Islamic State Survivor: A Yazidi Girl's Tale

Sarah Said Haydar, captured a year ago while fleeing Islamic State onslaught in northern Iraq, was so traumatized by militants, she sought to end her own life More

EU, US Applaud Kosovo Law on Special Court

Joint statement says lawmakers' decision to address allegations of war crimes 'demonstrated their commitment to the rule of law and to honor international agreements' More

ASEAN Ministers to Push for S. China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: peter from: virginia,usa
November 19, 2012 10:21 AM
our president is a true leader because he care about the very people that he serve the poor,the disadvantage.what i see in him is a man that wants equality for all in pursuit of happiness without a civil unrest. this president is the greatest man that america has seen after our greatest and most caring president franklin dwight roosevelt with his wife eleanor.
In Response

by: Neon from: Austin, TX
November 19, 2012 5:53 PM
Lots of unrest I see in Israel, Syria, and the greater Mid East. Obama's only focusing on Asia because he knows he can't have a positive legacy in the Mid East. His legacy in Asia will look good now but 20 years from today we'll look back and see the time bombs he set up.
In Response

by: henry from: davis
November 19, 2012 12:45 PM
arrogant, wake up and open your eye to see the world.

by: tiktin from: Boise, Idaho
November 19, 2012 9:58 AM
I am sick and tired of the United States meddling in the internal affairs of other countries.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Cambodia Makes Progress Curbing Bear Tradei
X
Robert Carmichael
August 04, 2015 3:07 PM
Cambodia’s wild bears are under unprecedented pressure. Their native forests are being cut down at record rates, and China's huge demand for traditional medicine has made them targets. But experts say Cambodia's conservation efforts are setting an example that has put it well ahead of its neighbors in protecting bears. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.
Video

Video Cambodia Makes Progress Curbing Bear Trade

Cambodia’s wild bears are under unprecedented pressure. Their native forests are being cut down at record rates, and China's huge demand for traditional medicine has made them targets. But experts say Cambodia's conservation efforts are setting an example that has put it well ahead of its neighbors in protecting bears. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.
Video

Video Growing Number of E. Jerusalem Palestinians Seek Israeli Citizenship

Most Palestinians living in East Jerusalem have long rejected the option of full Israeli citizenship, seeing it as a betrayal to their political cause - the formation of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. But as that dream remains elusive, more and more Palestinians are applying for Israeli citizenship. Zlatica Hoke reports the decision is hard for many Palestinians who say they have to be pragmatic about it.
Video

Video With No Money, More Students, African Universities Struggle

Academics from around the African continent converged in Johannesburg last week for the African Universities Summit, a chance to tackle some of the major issues facing higher education in Africa today. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Wisconsin's Voter ID Law Still Mired In Controversy

Voter ID laws have sparked controversy across the US. More than 30 states enacted laws requiring citizens to show identification before they vote. Against fierce opposition, the state of Wisconsin recently enacted one the most restrictive voter ID laws in country. As Jeff Swicord reports, no one can predict its impact as the 2016 election nears.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Hailed as Highly Effective

At last, there's a way to end the suffering from the Ebola epidemic that has ravaged West Africa for more than a year. Researchers say the vaccine is so effective, there may never be a major outbreak of Ebola again. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs