News / Asia

    Ukraine Developments Loom Over Obama Trip to Asia

    Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asiai
    X
    William Ide
    April 21, 2014 3:42 PM
    President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Ukraine Developments Loom Over Obama Trip to Asia
    President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns about Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors.
     
    Ukraine may seem far removed from events unfolding in one of the world's most dynamic regions, a key driver of the global economy, but it is clearly on the minds of U.S. officials.
     
    Speaking at a security conference in Indonesia last month, Admiral Harry Harris, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, talked about the need for all countries in the region to work to avoid a Crimea type situation in the Pacific.
     
    President Obama's Trip to Asia, IntineraryPresident Obama's Trip to Asia, Intinerary
    x
    President Obama's Trip to Asia, Intinerary
    President Obama's Trip to Asia, Intinerary
    Earlier in April, Daniel Russel, assistant secretary of state for East Asia and Pacific affairs, told U.S. lawmakers that sanctions the U.S. and European Union placed on Russia should have a chilling effect on anyone in China who might be thinking about using Crimea as a model.
     
    He also said the sanctions put pressure on China to show it is committed to peaceful resolution of its disputes in the region.
     
    Over the past two years, China has put increasing pressure on Japan in a dispute over islands in the East China Sea. It has sent coast guard patrols and drones to assert its claims. Late last year, it unilaterally announced an air defense identification zone, which includes the islands.
     
    Jean-Pierre Cabestan, a political scientist at Hong Kong Baptist University, said there is clearly a temptation for Beijing to try and alter the status quo. But, he added, there are big differences between China's disputes in Asia and what has happened on the Crimean peninsula.
     
    "For one thing, Japan is a U.S. ally, there is a security treaty between Japan and the U.S., which compels the U.S. to intervene. China knows it, I think even more so today because the U.S. Obama administration has sent a number of very clear signals, clearer and clearer signals to China that the U.S. will be involved in any armed conflict around the Senkakus," said Cabestan.
     
    Still, Cabestan said, it is hard to predict whether China may ultimately take inspiration from what Russia did in Crimea.
     
    When it comes to the dispute over uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, known as the Senkakus in Japan and Diaoyu islands in China, Beijing's options are limited.
     
    Japan controls the islands and attempts to even land on them in the past by Chinese activists have not lasted long.
     
    Xie Tao, a political scientist at Beijing Foreign Studies University, said that if the Chinese government was to support some sort of effort by fishermen or others to land on the islands for a period of time and then proclaim sovereignty, it may backfire.
     
    "Everybody knows that the islands cannot sustain any long term human settlement and if you did that it would obviously be a trap that would be set up by the Chinese government that would only incur international criticism and international condemnation," said Xie.
     
    The United States says it does not take sides in the disputes, be it in the East or South China Sea. However, Washington's effort to re-balance its position in the region by shoring up diplomatic, economic, political and security ties has raised concerns in China.
     
    Some here see that effort, or "pivot to Asia" as it is called, as an attempt to contain Beijing's rise. They also argue that Washington's actions are emboldening its allies in the region to raise tensions.
     
    Just days before President Obama embarks on his trip, Japan announced a decision to expand its military footprint, deploying troops and radar to an island near the disputed area in the East China Sea.
     
    China says it is seeking to peacefully resolve its disputes in the region and has accused Japan of hyping regional threats to justify its military expansion.
     
    Japan will be the first stop on President Obama's four-nation tour of the region, which includes visits to South Korea and two other Southeast Asian nations that have territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea - the Philippines and Malaysia.
     
    Last year, a government shutdown in Washington forced President Obama to cancel his attendance at the APEC leaders summit. Cabestan said this year's trip is part of an effort to pick up from where he left off.
     
    "Obama wants to repair his non-visit, his non-participation to the APEC summit in Indonesia in the fall last year… That created some frustration and some I think unease in Asia particularly among U.S. allies, because it gave the occasion for China to sort of run the show in place of Obama," said Cabestan.
     
    Political scientist Xie Tao said Beijing will be watching closely to see what Obama does to reassure his allies in the region, whether he plays the role of peacemaker by promoting regional stability or plays up negative perceptions about China.
     
    "I would hope that he would do something to assuage China's suspicions that he is not really here to contain China,” said Xie.
     
    One key test of that, Xie added, will be Obama's stop in Malaysia. The stop in Malaysia will be the first for a U.S. president in nearly five decades and comes at a time when relations between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing are under tremendous strain following the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    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 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 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.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora