Syria showdown triggers concern over Asian pivot

Updated: 2013-09-04 10:45

By Chen Weihua in Washington (China Daily)

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 She said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's attendance at a meeting in Brunei despite the crisis in Syria demonstrates the US' firm commitment to the rebalancing strategy. "President Obama will attend APEC and the East Asia Summit, which will take almost two weeks out of his schedule. He is personally committed to the Asia rebalance," Glaser said.

"The US is a global power, and while it has to set priorities, it is possible to pay attention to more than one area in the world at a time," she said.

On Tuesday, the State Department announced that Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel will travel to Asia for the first time in his new capacity.

The trip from September 5-14 will take him to Republic of Korea, Japan, Brunei, Indonesia and China.

The State Department said the trip will advance close coordination with US allies and engagement with its East Asian partners.

Many Chinese have remained suspicious of the US rebalancing to Asia strategy, regarding it as part of a US strategy to curtail the rise of China. They believe that the disproportional US military deployment in the Asia Pacific - such as in Australia, Japan and the Philippines - is aimed at China.

Some also feel that the US rebalancing strategy has emboldened some countries to break the status quo in maritime territorial disputes.

Many analysts in the region fear the rebalancing strategy, especially the military part, is fueling a military build-up in the region.

On Monday, the US announced that, as part of its rebalancing to Asia strategy, it will sell eight Apache attack helicopters to Indonesia for $500 million.

A report on the US rebalancing strategy issued by the Elliott School of International Affairs and the Sigur Center for Asian Studies at George Washington University recently called on the US to provide strategic reassurance to allies, friends and other regional powers without provoking a strategic backlash from China.

(China Daily USA 09/04/2013 page2)

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