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US stirs up conflict among Asian countries as part of rebalancing strategy

(People's Daily Online)

16:17, July 17, 2012

The United States has been implementing a rebalancing strategy in recent years. The Obama administration believes the country wrongly devoted itself to the war on terror after the 9/11 attacks. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wasted too many resources and too much energy of the United States, leading to a “strategic neglect” of Asia and China’s “invasion” of its sphere of influence in the region. Therefore, the Obama administration has been adjusting strategic focus and rebalancing its forces toward Asia. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recent Asia tour is a reflection and continuation of the country’s rebalancing strategy. She was scheduled to attend the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), among other events.

Stirring up tensions and conflict among Asian countries has been an important way for the Obama administration to implement its rebalancing strategy. Objectively speaking, there remain many unresolved territorial disputes in Asia, and certain neighboring countries are worried about and afraid of a rapidly rising China. U.S. policymakers have taken advantage of this situation to rebalance their national economic and security interests toward Asia.

In terms of security, the United States has taken advantage of the Cheonan incident and bombardment of Yeonpyeong as well as the trawler incident near the Diaoyu Islands and Japan's earthquakes to strengthen its alliance with South Korea and Japan. Furthermore, it has portrayed China as “aggressive,” and incited the Philippines, Vietnam, and other Southeast Asian nations against China.

As for the rebalancing of its economic interests, the United States has adopted a strategic measure of using the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (TPP) for its own benefit. The TPP was initially just a trade and investment agreement among the four countries of New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei, and Chile, but became highly influential after the United States joined in 2009.

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