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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regreti
X
Zana Omer
March 28, 2015 1:19 AM
Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Virginia Tavern Takes Patrons Back to Medieval Times

European martial arts are not widely practiced and are unknown by most people. A tavern in Old Town Alexandria, outside Washington, wants to change this by promoting these fighting techniques from medieval times. Through combining visual arts, martial arts and culinary arts, this tavern brings medieval history back to life. VOA's Yang Lin and Helen Wu report.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More