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

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid