Barack Obama

How they see it, November 25, 2012

US leader's Asian tour, including Asean meet

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 25 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 13 June, 2016, 12:45pm

1. Global Times

It seems there is a contest between China's and the United States' strategic expectations for the Asean. It shouldn't get mired in the conflicts of big powers. Countries like the Philippines, which have territorial disputes with China, are attempting to make Asean politically antagonistic towards it, and the US and Japan are also inducing a tough attitude on China. These may … [distract] from economic development, the [Asean's] top priority. The Asean is not China's competitor. The territorial dispute between the Philippines and China doesn't have strategic significance. Any dispute, including quarrels between China and Asean countries, is controllable and will not be a zero-sum game. (Beijing)


2. Bangkok Post

President Obama's visit to Thailand underscores the geopolitical significance of Southeast Asia and Thailand at a time when the US and China are competing for a firmer stronghold in Asia, which is set to be the world's strongest growth machine. Apart from cementing military ties, Obama's plan to involve Thailand in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal shows America's earnest intention to bring about another economic grouping in the region - one with the US as the core. … Obama leaves behind many challenges for a smaller country like Thailand on how best to protect national interests when it aspires to be part of the global economy where the rules are set by the big guys. (Bangkok)


3. The Washington Post

As President Obama flew to Southeast Asia, one of his advisers was quoted as saying that a renewed focus on Asia would be "a critical part of the president's second term and his foreign policy legacy". The focus on Asia is understandable, but the discussion of legacy seems a bit premature - and helps explain why human rights activists were nervous that Obama might proclaim a premature victory in Myanmar. … Obama struck a balance between acknowledging the progress made so far and encouraging the further steps that are essential. Obama stressed the importance of embedding that progress in a constitution. He noted that "there are prisoners of conscience who still await release". (Washington)