News / Asia

US Re-balance to Asia Overshadowed by Tensions With China

US Re-balance to Asia Overshadowed by Tensions with Chinai
X
December 24, 2013 11:06 AM
The U.S. moved to pivot military, diplomatic and economic resources toward Asia in 2013, but the policy was sidetracked by bickering among allies and an increasingly assertive China. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Seoul.
Daniel Schearf
The United States moved to pivot military, diplomatic and economic resources toward Asia in 2013, but the policy was sidetracked by bickering among allies and an increasingly assertive China.

Vice President Joe Biden's December trip to Northeast Asia was meant to focus on reassuring U.S. allies Japan and South Korea of its plans to vastly increase resources to the region.

But China's sudden expansion of its Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) to overlap disputed areas with Japan and South Korea in the East China Sea dominated discussions.

Biden said he spoke candidly on the issue in meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

"But I was absolutely clear on behalf of my president, we do not recognize the zone,” said Biden in a speech at South Korea's Yonsei University. “It will have no affect on American operations. Just ask my general. None. Zero. I've also made it clear that we expect China not to take action that increases tensions and the risk of escalation.”

Japan, South Korea and the United States defiantly flew military aircraft through the area without informing Beijing, while South Korea expanded its defense ID zone to overlap parts of China's.

For safety reasons, the United States said its commercial aircraft would follow the new guidelines of first submitting flight plans through the expanded area to Beijing and staying in radio contact with Chinese authorities.

South Korea at first refused to comply, but later said its commercial flights would follow the U.S.' example, while Japan has flatly refused. The airspace above the Japan-administered Senkaku islands, which China disputes ownership of and calls the Diaoyu, is included in Beijing's expanded zone.

Despite concerns about miscalculation or mistakes, the International Crisis Group's Dan Pinkston argued the risk to aircraft from the expanded ADIZs is exaggerated.

“In no way is it in China's interest to interfere with any of that,” said Pinkston. “Of course, the question is with state aircraft, with military aircraft. Now I think China would claim to have some legal authority to intercept or take hostile acts against foreign aircraft around the disputed islands in the East China Sea. But, again, do they want to escalate and become involved in that type of hostile action. I don't think so at this time. But, if they want to do that they can do it anyway.”

As part of its military expansion and assertion, China's recently launched aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, has undergone training exercises in the South China Sea, where it disputes territory with Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

During Biden's trip, a Chinese warship escorting the carrier got in the path of a U.S. missile cruiser forcing it to change course to avoid collision.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called China's behavior in the encounter “irresponsible.”

China's aggressive moves on disputed territory has, in part, driven calls for the U.S. to rebalance toward Asia, as well as boost relations with key East Asia allies Japan and South Korea.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has sought a summit meeting with South Korean President Park Geun-hye but has so far been shunned by Seoul, and Beijing, for efforts to white wash Japan's colonial and World War II aggression.

Meeting China's rise calls for repairing damage to Seoul-Tokyo relations, said Professor Park Hwee Rhak at Kookmin University.

"Under the current situation, it is difficult to relieve the threat with a separate South Korea-U.S. alliance and U.S.-Japan alliance”, said Park. “So it is necessary to strengthen South Korea-Japan relations and the U.S. must put forward effort more actively. So I think it will be great for President Obama at the next visit to focus on the U.S. contribution to negotiating closer relations between South Korea and Japan.”

Abe in December hosted leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations with an eye towards investment but also part of what he has called forming an “arc of freedom” from Japan around China's south.

The Japan-ASEAN summit statement underscored the need for freedom of navigation in the sea and air, a veiled reference to concerns about China.

China has close economic ties with ASEAN but has also irritated members with territorial disputes for dragging its feet on negotiating a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.

ICG's Pinkston notes that although China claims to want a multi-polar world, it prefers to negotiate bilaterally so it can more effectively throw around its political and economic weight.

“My hope is that at some point in the future we can get on a path of developing better, multilateral institutions for the region that will take everyone's security concerns into account. And, that we can find a better way than forming trilateral alliances to balance against China or encircle China and so forth,” Pinkston said. “Hopefully, we can find a better mechanism rather than just slipping into a new Cold War in East Asia.”

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: peacelover
December 23, 2013 10:15 PM
japan is always a real threat to world peace. if one day a war happen in east asia, the war must be between usa and japan, usa and china will be allies and fight against japan.

In Response

by: Martin Arif from: keston
December 31, 2013 10:44 PM
Talking chinese arnt u america will fight side by side with japan v china if war was to take place fact and would win fact no matter who fights along side china fact let china build aircraft carriers time they have a fleet america will have tech which will crush destroy no probs so shut it mug!!


by: Jonathan huang from: Canada
December 23, 2013 6:40 PM
No matter how bad you try to bash China, China will keep growing and becomes a superpower!
I love my homeland, long life China! Wish communism bring the equality, prosperity and peace to every ppl!


by: Lucas were from: Kenya(ugunja)
December 23, 2013 12:59 PM
Us should for instance re-balance the east asia becausa s.korea and japan is technologically advantaged in the fied of electronics as well as space science,their coperation will help contain china,in my
Opinion china is such a hypocrate because they compromise diplomatic duties being conducted by us and then they sit on the fence pretending to be good.true us supporter,i wish u deal with china.

In Response

by: windson from: usa
December 23, 2013 7:43 PM
Long history of human being has proved that all nations were hypocrites,facing the national interest.no exception at all.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid