News / Asia

Rice Outlines US Asia-Pacific Priorities, Announces Obama Trip in April

File - U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice.
File - U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice.
President Barack Obama's national security adviser said the United States remains committed to re-balancing security and economic priorities to the Asia-Pacific region. Susan Rice also has announced Obama's plan to return to Asia next year.

It was the first major address on Asia-Pacific policy by a top White House official since the president was forced to cancel his trip to the APEC summit in Indonesia, and stops in Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines.

Secretary of State John Kerry went in Obama's place, but the president's absence, a result of the 16 day partial U.S. government shutdown, raised new questions about the U.S. re-balancing policy.

At Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., Rice announced that Obama will return to Asia in April. She also said there should be no questioning the U.S. commitment.

"Re-balancing toward the Asia-Pacific remains a cornerstone of the Obama administration's foreign policy," said Rice. "No matter how many hot spots emerge elsewhere, we will continue to deepen our enduring commitment to this critical region. Our friends in Asia deserve, and will continue to get, our highest level attention."

Security, prosperity, democracy

Rice said Obama's "near term" goals include lasting progress on enhancing security, expanding prosperity, fostering democratic values and advancing human dignity.  

She said U.S. alliances and force postures, and "upgrading and diversifying security arrangements" aim to make the region more secure, including basing 60 percent of the U.S. fleet in the Pacific by 2020.

On China, Rice said the U.S. seeks to put into operation a new model of major power relations, "managing inevitable competition while forging deeper cooperation on issues where interests converge in Asia and beyond."

She said the U.S., however, will hold to certain basic principles. "We will continue to champion respect for the rule of law, human rights, religious freedom and democratic principles. These are the common aspirations that all people share, and we will do this even and especially when it is not the easy or expedient thing to do."

The need to maintain pressure on North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons program, Rice said, is one example of where the U.S. and Chinese interests align.

North Korea issues

She said the U.S. is prepared for negotiations, provided they are authentic and credible, and get at the entirety of North Korea's nuclear program. "Pyongyang's attempts to engage in dialogue while keeping critical elements of its weapons program running, are not acceptable and will not succeed."

Rice said North Korea will face "significant costs" for future provocations, adding that the U.S. will join with partners, especially China, to increase pressure on Pyongyang.

Rice urged nations involved in East and South China Sea disputes, which she called a "growing threat to regional peace, security and U.S. interests," to increase communication, and reject coercion and aggression.

On Burma, Rice cited progress such as political reforms and the release of many political prisoners. She said challenges remain, such as overcoming ethnic tensions and violence, but that Washington is hopeful.

"If progress continues by the end of President Obama's second term we hope to have helped Burma re-establish itself as a regional leader, and as a thriving if nascent, prosperous democracy."

The U.S. national security adviser said America will continue to support those working for political reform and democracy "from Cambodia to Fiji," and will help nations strengthen institutions and uphold rule of law.

The White House has issued no further information on Obama's planned return to Asia in April.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid