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People's Daily Online>>Opinion

The role that US plays in Asia

By Xue Litai  (China Daily)

09:59, November 24, 2011

Sino-US ties were in focus at the recent Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Honolulu and the just concluded East Asia Summit (EAS) in Bali, especially because of the European economic and political crises. It was not a good time for US President Barack Obama to attend the EAS, given the unstable state of the American economy, and the Congressional super committee's failure on the federal budget.

The frictions between the United States and China - from the yuan's exchange rate to the South China Sea disputes - are nothing new. But the problem now is that the two countries seem unable to narrow their perception gap.

Obama met with Premier Wen Jiabao twice during the EAS to say that China should allow the yuan to revalue more rapidly. At the APEC summit in Hononulu, Obama had complained to President Hu Jintao that the yuan was undervalued and said it "disadvantages American business; it disadvantages American workers. And we have said to them that this is something that has to change".

The Chinese leaders responded that the yuan's exchange rate was not responsible for the US' high trade deficit with China, instead structural problems in the American economy were to blame for that. In fact, China has been emphasizing the need for a new mechanism for global economic governance to increase "the voice of emerging markets and developing economies".

Before the summits, US officials had said countries concerned should exercise self-restraint and refrain from taking any action that could escalate or complicate the territorial disputes in the South China Sea. The US remark was directed at China, too. But before that, Obama had issued an indirect message to China saying: "We want you to play by the rules". He warned that "where we see rules being broken, we'll speak out and, in some cases, we will take action."

Chinese leaders and people, however, think that the US dragged the South China Sea disputes, an irrelevant issue, to the EAS to fulfill its own agenda. To them, the US' intention is clear: It is using the South China Sea disputes to drive a wedge between China and some of its Southeast Asian neighbors, which have enjoyed "20 years of steady friendship".

It is clear that the US is desperate to engage full-time and establish its diversified presence in Asia as part of its global repositioning strategy. Washington is in the process of one of the most important transitions, that is, repositioning and rebalancing its foreign policy priorities. To that end, it has begun shifting its resources and capabilities from the Middle East and South Asia to East Asia. Recognizing that the "American future is in Asia", the US is hell-bent on establishing a strong presence in Asia.

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Leave your comment8 comments

  1. Name

John at 2012-02-06113.239.228.*
He sent Navy Seals after Oasama and killed him Please send us your address
Nic at 2011-11-2660.53.120.*
A black man trying to prove that he is equal to white in execution. He is also know as the"killer" President. What Nobel Prize giver has to say to this Nobel Prize Peace taker when He wants others to play by the rules (who"s rules?) and would take action when the rules are broken?Allowing US to set fire and not allowing other countries even to light a lamp?Double standard!
PD User at 2011-11-26220.233.46.*
Australians and USA people mostly get on well, but Australians are unwillingly swamped with US TV, press, and perspectives. As a city based professional, it seems to me that few Australians want USA military in Australia. Democracy in Australian is a farce. The gov’t acts, not on the people’s will, but on the will of a small elite in its "party". The party has >50k members among 23 mil. pop. It submits to suzerainty with USA, paying as tribute, young Australian lives in US military quests. US promotes the idea that it once defended Australia. It did not. USA joined the Allies in 1942. If it fought earlier, Japan would have had no opportunity to bomb Australia. About 5,000 Australians travel daily to E. and S. Asia for vacation and work, enjoying the depth of culture there. We detest the USA gun and drug culture. No. Like most people I know I vote against basing Alien USA military in Australia. There are much smarter alternatives for Australia. But since when did my vote count?
PD User at 2011-11-25220.233.46.*
From my perspective, as a city dwelling professional, few Australians want USA military in Australia. They call us "aliens", have recently shot kangaroos from their helicopters, have a bad history of rape, and promote every vice. In short they are not trusted nor wanted except by those who will benefit financially by their being here; the pimps, the whores and the casinos. Australian TV and press reflect the opinion of USA government, not the opinion of the Australian people. Unfortunately, we in Australia are unwillingly swamped with US TV, press and perspectives from the media and from our government. The propaganda, presented as "News",is doubted by educated people, but has the affect of creating fear in the gullible, just like the USA televangelists that perform their bizarre dance daily on our TV sets - and for the same purpose. (Does the strategy sound familiar?) As with many countries, the Australian government acts from the will of its "party", not the will of the people. The two main parties, Tweedldee and Tweedldun, each have less than 50,000 members out of 23 million population. Democracy is a farce. I live in Brisbane. We fought US military here once. The Australian government placates USA by acting in a suzerainty relationship, gifts as tribute, the lives of young Australians to USA military adventures, much the same as it did before with the British. In attempts to win over public opinion for US bases in Australia, US media here promotes the idea that US once defended Australia. It did not. Aust was a small part of USA anti – Japanese effort in the second half of WWII. If USA joined the Allies when first asked, Japan would not have had the opportunity to come to Australia. But USA had priorities higher than defending Australia. $s. Many in USA wanted US to join the Germans. Mostly, Australians get on well with USA people, but not with USA government, or military. Most of us have travelled to/worked in/have friends in East Asian and and South Asian countries. We are not called "Aliens" there, and enjoy the depth of culture of the people. (about 5,000 passengers a day?) Most of us seem to detest the gun and drug culture of the USA and the "Superiority complex" of the deceptive and manipulative British. No. I do not welcome Alien military from USA residing in Australia, and neither do any of my extensive list of friends. There are much smarter alternatives for Australia.
PD User at 2011-11-258.25.28.*
@gon I agree it should be withdrawn. Obama is a clown. US foreign policy is a joke.

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