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

    South Sudan Sends First Ever Official Olympic Team to Rio

    VOA caught up with Santino Kenyi, 16, one of three athletes who will compete in this year's summer games in Brazil

    Arrest of Malawi's 'Hyena' Man Highlights Clash of Ritual, Health and Women's Rights

    Ritual practice of deflowering young girls is blamed for spreading deadly AIDS virus

    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    VOA finds things Americans take for granted are special to foreigners

    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.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora