News / Asia

Former US Diplomat Warns Of Intractable US-China Tensions

Phil Mercer
— One of the key architects of Washington’s foreign policy focus on Asia says there will always be tensions in the relationship between the United States and China.  Kurt Campbell, who last month retired as Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific after four years in the job, made the warning in a speech in Australia.
 
In his first public address since leaving his post at the U.S. State Department, Kurt Campbell said the ability of China and the United States to co-exist in the Asia Pacific region is the most critical foreign policy challenge of the century.
 
The former diplomat told a meeting of international policy experts at Sydney University that the relationship between Washington and Beijing will affect politics around the world. Campbell said that the leaders of the two great powers appreciate the need to find “contours of coexistence,” but there will always be tensions.
 
He told the gathering that officials in Canberra often did not fully appreciate Washington’s desire to coexist with the Chinese.
 
“I think Australians tend to not recognize how deep and sustained American commitment to working with China," he said. "For the United States probably the most important foreign policy goal of the 21st century is to figure out how to work together to coexist with China in the Asia-Pacific region.  It is extraordinarily important that we find ways to work together, to cooperate.”
 
Campbell played a strategic part in normalizing the policy of the United States towards Burma, after generals in the Southeast Asia nation ended decades of military rule.  Since leaving the government, the former assistant secretary has started a new consulting company called the Asia Group that advises businesses, governments and civil society groups across Asia.  

For one of the firm's first announced projects, the Asia Group has joined a foreign consortium trying to win a contract to modernize Burma’s Rangoon International Airport, which was built in 1947.
 
Sean Turnell, an economist at Sydney’s Macquarie University, who closely monitors events in Burma, says that it is common for former politicians and diplomats to cash in on their expertise in the private sector.
 
“On the up side I mean someone like Campbell would certainly know the issues in and out.  I guess it is really just an issue whether positions taken in the past mean that you could yield influence in the future in a commercial sense," said Turnell. "But, yes, it is one of those things, I think, more or less around the world that political power very often turns into economic power.”  
 
The opening up of Burma to visitors and investors has led to a flurry of interest from an array of foreign businesses, eager to benefit from a massive redevelopment of infrastructure, including roads, hotels and airports.

You May Like

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid