Thursday, June 13, 2024
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US’ Asia policy not targeted at China: White House

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Washington: As US President Barack Obama heads towards the Asia Pacific, the White House asserted that its Asia policy is not targeted towards China but underlined the need for “peaceful rise” of nations in the region.

“The key point I believe is that US policy in Asia is about US interests. It’s not about China,” the National Security Council Director for Asia, Danny Russel, told reporters during a conference call ahead of the Obama visit to Asia – his fifth in four years. Incidentally, Defence Secretary Leon Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are already in the region. Obama will travel to Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia.

He would be the first US President to travel to Myanmar. “We have important bilateral relationships — important in their own right — and we have important work to do with regional institutions such as ASEAN and the East Asia Summit.”

“Now, China is a full participant in the East Asia Summit, and the fact is that the US and China have extensive areas of cooperation in the Asia Pacific region and in the EAS agenda itself, and that’s something that the region values and wants to see,” added Russel on Thursday.

He added that there are areas of competition and areas of difference of view.

“And we have, in every context made clear to Beijing, that there’s a cost to coercive behavior, problematic conduct, whether that’s on the economic front or on the security front,” he said in response to a question.

“Our objective is to shape the environment in the Asia Pacific region in which the peaceful rise of important countries, including China, contributes to the common good, is fundamentally stabilising and not destabilising, and in which every party can contribute to the work at hand,” he said.

Russell said the US President is scheduled to hold a number of bilateral meetings in Phnom Penh, the Cambodian Capital, which will host the ASEAN Summit.

Topping the list of bilateral is that with the Chinese and Japanese leaders.

“Invariably, inevitably, the leaders will want to discuss the salient strategic and security issue facing the region, which is the issue stemming from the competing territorial claims in the South China Sea. ” So I think the things to watch at the East Asia Summit are, first of all, what is the program of work that the leaders set for themselves in the course of 2013?” he said.

The Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes said the US will continue to be engaged with China.

“They have a leadership transition that is under way. And we’ve always made it clear that we don’t see our engagement as coming at the expense of another country; it’s based on the fact that the United States has important interests in this region,” he said.

“As it relates to China, we’re going to continue to work cooperatively with the Chinese where we have common interests, and where we have differences, particularly as it relates to making sure that China is living up to the rules of the road, we’ll be clear about those as well,” Rhodes said in response to a question. (PTI)

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