News / USA

White House: Obama Determined to Continue Asia Re-Balance

White House Spokesperson Jay Carney (file photo)
White House Spokesperson Jay Carney (file photo)
— The White House says President Barack Obama remains committed to his strategy of re-balancing U.S. economic and security interests to Asia, and is determined to return to the region to reinforce this point.

The bitter politics surrounding the partial U.S. government shutdown, which the White House blames on congressional Republicans, led Obama to cancel his Asia trip.

The president would have gone to the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit in Indonesia, the gathering of leaders from 21 Asia-Pacific economies.  
 
This is the second consecutive year Obama has missed the APEC summit.  In 2012, the U.S. presidential election campaign kept him from attending the summit in Russia.

Press secretary Jay Carney called the cancellation "a setback" to creating U.S. jobs through promoting exports and advancing American interests in the region.

But he said the President remains committed to "re-balancing" U.S. policy toward the Asia-Pacific.

"The president is committed to the pivot of U.S. policy towards Asia. And he will - he looks forward to continuing his work with our allies and partners in the Asia-Pacific region and to returning to the region at a later date," said Carney.

The cancellation also keeps Obama away from face-to-face meetings with ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) leaders at the East Asia summit in Brunei.

Carney avoided a direct answer when asked about conversations between Obama and his advisers about what would be lost by canceling the remainder of his Asia trip, which was to have included Malaysia and the Philippines.

He said Obama wanted to go and is fully aware of the stakes.

"It's not good for our economy to have the president unable to travel to Asia, where some of the fastest-growing economies in the world are located, to make the case for America's economic dynamism and America's potential as a source of investment and also to make the case for America's national security interests in that region," he said.

Ernie Bower of the Center for Strategic and International Studies says the cancellation of the trip will spark new questions in the region.

"The chief desk officer for the Asia-Pacific in the second Obama term is the guy named Barack Obama.  But low and behold, Congress is pinning this guy down and he cannot get to Asia," said Bower.

Jay Carney was also asked about the lost opportunity to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Bali.

He said Obama and President Putin communicate "with some regularity" and he cited the vote in the UN  Security Council to destroy Syria's chemical weapons.

On whether China, represented at APEC by President Xi Jinping, would be able to capitalize on Obama's absence, Carney said Obama and President Xi met in the United States earlier this year....

Conversations that will continue, the spokesman said, while adding that it's in the interest of the U.S. to engage in Asia.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
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.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid