In this photo taken Nov. 16, 2012 and released by U.S. Navy, twenty-six ships from the U.S. Navy and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, including USS George Washington, bottom right, steam together in East China Sea after the conclusion of Keen Sword, a biennial naval exercise by the two countries to respond to a crisis in the Asia-Pacific region. As U.S. President Barack Obama tours Asia to push his year-old pivot to the Pacific policy, the big question on everybody’s mind is how much of a role Washington, with its mighty military and immense diplomatic clout, can play in keeping the Pacific. Japan is Washington’s most faithful security partner in the Pacific and it is the most pinched by China’s rise. (AP Photo/U.S. Navy, Chief Mass Communication Specialist Jennifer A. Villalovos) EDITORIAL USE ONLY
TOKYO (AP) — A lot has happened in Asia while the United States was off fighting its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and most of it can be summed up in one word — China. Fueled by China’s amazing growth and the promise of its huge and expanding consumer market, the Asia-Pacific region is now, as experts like to say, the global economy’s center of gravity. Sorry, Europe.
But prosperity requires stability.
As President Barack Obama tours the region to push his year-old pivot to the Pacific policy, the big question on everybody’s mind is how much of a role Washington, with its mighty military and immense diplomatic clout, can play in keeping the Pacific — well, pacific. Here’s a look at how different countries perceive the U.S. Pacific policy and how it impacts them:
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As far as Beijing is concerned, Obama’s pivot was pulled right out of the old Cold War containment playbook. Afraid of China’s rise, Beijing believes, Washington is trying to enflame new tensions by isolating it and emboldening the countries that China has territorial disputes with, which is just about everybody with whom it shares a border.
“Using China’s rise and the ‘China threat’ theory, the U.S. wants to convince China’s neighbors that the Asia-Pacific needs Washington’s presence and protection in order to ‘unite’ them to strike a ‘strategic rebalance’ against China in the region,” security scholar Wang Yusheng wrote recently in the China Daily.