News / Asia

Pyongyang Furthers US Strategic Goals to China's Dismay

Sgt. Lauren Colantropo (L) and Cpl. Andrew Allen re-install an  infrared radar sensor on a  fighter jet aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard in Subic Bay, Philippines, in this October 7, 2012 handout photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy.Sgt. Lauren Colantropo (L) and Cpl. Andrew Allen re-install an infrared radar sensor on a fighter jet aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard in Subic Bay, Philippines, in this October 7, 2012 handout photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy.
x
Sgt. Lauren Colantropo (L) and Cpl. Andrew Allen re-install an  infrared radar sensor on a  fighter jet aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard in Subic Bay, Philippines, in this October 7, 2012 handout photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy.
Sgt. Lauren Colantropo (L) and Cpl. Andrew Allen re-install an infrared radar sensor on a fighter jet aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard in Subic Bay, Philippines, in this October 7, 2012 handout photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy.
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
— Nobody but Kim Jong Un knows what he hopes to achieve with his saber-rattling campaign, but the young North Korean leader probably didn't set out to aid the United States, the sworn enemy of three generations of Kims, at the expense of his country's main ally, China.
       
In a boon for U.S. policy that can only add to China's frustration with Kim, North Korean bellicosity has helped reinforce an American strategy of rebalancing its security policies toward the Asia-Pacific region.

To a China that often sounds more wary of Washington than of Pyongyang, months of North Korean missile and nuclear tests followed by a daily stream of bloodthirsty war threats may be worrisome, but the U.S. reaction is even more troubling.
       
"We understand what kind of regime North Korea is, but we also understand that North Korea is playing games,'' said Sun Zhe, director of the Center for U.S-China Relations at Beijing's Tsinghua University.
       
"Most importantly, we are complaining that the United States is using military drills as an excuse to continue to do this [rebalancing], putting up B-2s and other advanced weapons systems,'' he said.
       
B-2 and B-52 bombers, radar-evading F-22s and anti-missile system vessels like the USS John S. McCain represented the initial U.S. response to North Korea's repeated, explicit threats to launch nuclear strikes against the United States.
       
The U.S. also said it would shift THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System) to defend Guam from missile attack. And Tokyo's Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper said Japan would permanently deploy Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) anti-missile systems in Okinawa to counter North Korean missiles.

China laments chaos for 'self gain'

The U.S. deployments, although focused on North Korea and mostly temporary, could be adapted or expanded to counter the extensive array of anti-access military capabilities Beijing has built up to delay or prevent the arrival of American forces to areas near China in the event of conflict.
       
Chinese President Xi Jinping may have underscored Chinese ambivalence when he did not specifically name North Korea when he said no country "should be allowed to throw a region and even the whole world into chaos for selfish gain.''

Xi's remarks at the Davos-like Bo'ao Forum on the Chinese island of Hainan might have been targeting Washington as well as Pyongyang, reflecting Chinese unease at the U.S. "rebalancing'' or "pivot'' policy of winding down wars in Southwest Asia and paying renewed attention to the Asia-Pacific region.
      
"In China, it's widely believed that the pivot is a containment strategy of China. Almost everyone sees it as that,'' Stephanie Kleine-Ahlbrandt, a Beijing-based China analyst for the International Crisis Group.

In a talk in Washington explaining the rebalancing policy and the Pentagon's response to North Korea, U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter did not mince words in addressing Chinese complaints.

"North Korea's behavior is causing not just the United States, but others in the region to take action,'' he told the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

"If the Chinese find [in] them the kinds of things they don't like to see, there's an easy way to address that, which is to talk to the North Koreans about stopping these provocations,'' said Carter.
 
Diplomatic challenge for Kerry

Carter was forceful and unapologetic in presenting the rebalancing as a continuation of post-war U.S. policy that allowed allies Japan and South Korea, followed by Southeast Asia, China and India "to develop politically and economically in a climate that has been free from conflicts.''
      
"It's good for us and it's good for everyone in the region. And it includes everyone in the region. It's not aimed at anyone, no individual country or group of countries,'' he said.
  
Carter said the coming drawdown of forces from Afghanistan would allow the U.S. Navy to shift to the Pacific region surface combatant ships, carriers and other intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance vessels.
       
Analysts who accept the rebalancing as based on sound geo-strategic principles nevertheless say Pentagon statements and force deployments should not be the most visible face of the Obama administration's core Asia policy.
       
"We've oversold the military and undersold the diplomatic and economic components of the integrated strategy of the rebalance,'' said Douglas Paal, a former U.S. official who heads Asian Studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
       
"The reaction we're getting from China is 'they're coming to get us, we've got to respond, we've got to step up our military development,''' he said.
       
When Secretary of State John Kerry visits China, Japan and South Korea later this week in his first trip to the region as the top U.S. diplomat, he will need to adjust his rebalancing sales pitch to China while he engages in Korea crisis diplomacy.
       
That will be a tall order in Beijing, where new President Xi is consolidating his rule with a political and military elite that is highly suspicious of U.S. motives.
   
"When the economic, political and cultural elements were tacked on to the pivot, the Chinese said 'oh, so now we're being encircled economically, politically and culturally, too,'' said Kleine-Ahlbrandt.
       
"The problem with trying to disabuse someone of a conspiracy theory is that any argument you make becomes part of the conspiracy, so I don't know if it's possible to convince the Chinese that it's not about encircling them,'' she said.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid