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

William Ide
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

WHO: Anti-Ebola Efforts Should Focus on West Africa

Official says WHO is 'reasonably confident' countries bordering those hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak are not seeing the virus crossing their borders More

South Sudan Crisis Threatens Development

Economic costs and lost development opportunities in South Sudan have erased what little progress the country has made since independence in 2011 More

Ukrainian PM Warns: Russia May Try to Disrupt Sunday Poll

Arseniy Yatsenyuk orders full security mobilization for parliamentary election to prevent ‘terrorist acts’ from being carried out More

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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid