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

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells 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 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.

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