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China Defies Obama’s Slow Asia Pivot With Rapid Military Buildup

Discussion in 'China & Asia Pacific' started by sangos, Apr 24, 2014.

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  1. sangos

    sangos Lt. Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    A soldier jumps over a ring of fire during a tactical training mission in Heihe, northeast China's Heilongjiang province, on March 5, 2014. Photographer: STR/AFP via Getty Images

    President Barack Obama’s trip to Asia this week will be dominated by a country he’s not even visiting: China.

    Each of the four nations on the president’s itinerary is involved in territorial disputes with an increasingly assertive China. And years of military spending gains have boosted the capabilities of the People’s Liberation Army faster than many defense analysts expected, casting a shadow over relations between China and its neighbors and sparking doubts about long-term prospects for the U.S. presence in the Pacific.

    “There are growing concerns about what China is up to in the maritime space,” said Bonnie Glaser, a China expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “There’s a widely held view in the region that the U.S.-China relationship is tipping toward being much more confrontational.”

    Video: Rep. Crowley Says Obama Trip to Asia a `Statement'
    Obama arrives today in Japan, the start of a weeklong journey that also will take him to South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines. On display throughout will be the challenge of managing the uneasy relationship with China, the U.S.’s No. 2 trading partner and an emerging rival for global influence.

    For almost three years, Obama has sought to reorient U.S. foreign policy toward the Asia-Pacific region after more than a decade consumed by war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Though the president says the change isn’t aimed at containing China -- Sino-U.S. trade last year topped $562 billion, a 38 percent jump from five years earlier -- administration officials recently toughened their response to China’s muscular foreign policy.

    ‘Aggressive Growth’
    Danny Russel, assistant secretary of state for East Asia, in February labeled China’s claim to almost all of the South China Sea, hundreds of miles from its shoreline, as “inconsistent with international law.”

    Admiral Harry Harris, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, told an Australian audience on April 9: “I am concerned by the aggressive growth of the Chinese military, their lack of transparency, and a pattern of increasingly assertive behavior in the region.”

    The statements signaled mounting U.S. alarm following China’s establishment in November of an “air defense identification zone” in the East China Sea, which overlapped with Japanese and South Korean airspace.

    China’s growing strength in recent years has spawned a welter of territorial conflicts. The most serious involve uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, which Japan controls as the Senkakus and China calls Diaoyu.

    Expansive Claims
    Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia are among the countries disputing China’s expansive claim to the South China Sea and its energy resources, while the Philippines last month filed a complaint against China with an international arbitration panel.

    China and South Korea also have tussled over rights to a submerged formation that China calls the Suyan Rock and South Korea knows as the Ieodo.

    Even as tensions in East Asia remain high, U.S. officials insist they can toggle between cooperation and confrontation in their dealings with the world’s second-largest economy.

    “There doesn’t need to be tension and conflict,” said Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser. “An emerging power like China does not inherently have to come into conflict with an established power like the United States.”

    Still, during his visit to Manila, Obama is scheduled to give a speech to an audience of American and Filipino service members and veterans intended to showcase “our security cooperation in the current environment in the Asia Pacific,” Rhodes said.

    New Agreement
    Earlier this month, the U.S. and the Philippines agreed on the draft of a new accord that would give American forces their broadest access to Filipino bases in more than 20 years. The deal, which doesn’t involve the permanent stationing of U.S. troops in the Philippines, is likely to be announced when Obama reaches Manila on April 28.

    Ely Ratner, a former State Department China analyst, said the deal is “significant as a symbol of the degree to which the Chinese have scared the region.”

    As China has prospered, it has lavished resources on the military in a manner exceeded only by the U.S., which will spend $572 billion on defense this year. In March, China said it plans to increase the PLA’s budget by 12.2 percent this year to 808.2 billion yuan, about $130 billion.


    China Defies Obama’s Slow Asia Pivot With Rapid Military Buildup - Businessweek
     
  2. marshal panda

    marshal panda Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    China takes advantage of the reluctance o f Obama. In the long run,the US reluctance will cost it much more.Now it will be money,later it will be blood.
     
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