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

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say 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.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid