US President Barack Obama sought yesterday to reassure Asia-Pacific allies about Washington’s strategic shift toward the region as he sent a veiled message to China with a vow to “deepen our engagement using every element of our power.”
Speaking at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, where he is attending a G20 summit, Obama insisted that Asia’s security order must not be based on “coercion or intimidation ... where big nations bully the small, but on alliances for mutual security.”
Although Obama did not explicitly point the finger at China, there was little doubt that he was alluding to Beijing’s maritime disputes with its neighbors and growing concern in the region about its military build-up.
“No one should ever question our resolve or our commitments to our allies,” he said.
Obama, who visited Beijing for an Asia-Pacific summit this week and held talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), sought to show renewed resolve to follow through on his much-touted “pivot” to the region, involving military, diplomatic and economic assets.
The policy is widely seen as intended to counter China’s rising influence, although Obama, at a news conference with Xi earlier in the week, denied there was any desire to contain Beijing.
However, many in Asia are looking for further proof that the policy is real, especially with Obama’s agenda dominated by crises ranging from the battle against Islamic State militants and the conflict in Ukraine, to the spread of Ebola.
Obama made clear that in addition to security, Washington is determined to expand trade, a goal underscored by efforts to forge a trans-Pacific trade partnership in difficult negotiations that so far exclude China.
However, even as Obama hailed the region’s “dynamism,” he warned of potential threats.
“We see dangers that could undermine this progress,” he said, citing North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, disputes over territory that threaten to spiral into confrontation and the failure to uphold universal human rights.
‘DEMOCRATIC FISH’: Soichiro Hayashi said he wants to return Taiwan’s kindness after it helped with relief efforts after the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami Japanese fish farmers are ready to help Taiwan after China banned Taiwanese grouper imports, the Sankei Shimbun reported yesterday. The Chinese General Administration of Customs suspended imports of the fish on Monday last week, citing prohibited chemicals and excessive levels of oxytetracycline allegedly found in grouper imports since December last year. Soichiro Hayashi, president of the Hayashi Trout Farm in Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture, is leading the push for Taiwanese grouper imports, the newspaper said. His call has caught the attention of several large sushi chains, the report said. Hayashi, who is the Fukushima branch head of the Friends of Lee Teng-hui Association in Japan,
‘TROJAN HORSE’ SCHEME: The comment that a bridge would allow China’s PLA to easily launch an attack shows ‘a lack of backbone,’ Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je said Critics accused Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) of being oblivious to national security concerns after he proposed constructing a bridge to link Kinmen and China’s Xiamen (廈門). Ko, who is also the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) chairman, made the proposal when presiding over the opening ceremony of the party’s office in Kinmen on Saturday. He said the bridge could solve Kinmen’s population, electricity and garbage problems, as well as serve as a shortcut for leaving or entering Taiwan without traveling via Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport). He also proposed building a hospital in Kinmen to attract people who are seeking medical treatment in
OVER THE HUMP: In a seven-day period ending on Wednesday, the nation reported 366,628 new cases, down 19 percent from the 451,358 reported in the previous week The nation might further open up to more arrivals in the next two months, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, as it reported 48,283 new local COVID-19 cases, down from more than 50,000 in the previous few days. Taiwan on Wednesday last week introduced a plan to allow up to 25,000 arrivals per week as part of efforts to gradually reopen borders, which includes reducing mandatory quarantines for inbound travelers from seven to three days, followed by four days in “self-initiated epidemic prevention.” The quota covers inbound Taiwanese arrivals, businesspeople and migrant workers. Former vice president Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) yesterday said
The Ministry of National Defense yesterday said it is monitoring Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy ship movements near Taiwan, after the Japanese Ministry of Defense disclosed that Chinese vessels made a rare voyage between Yilan County and Japan’s Yonaguni. The Japanese ministry on Wednesday said that two Chinese navy ships on Tuesday diverted from their usual route of entering the Pacific Ocean via the Miyako Strait and for the first time traveled there between Yilan and Yonaguni. The Japan Self-Defense Forces said that it picked up the presence of China’s Type-056A Jiangdao-class corvette 220km north of Yonaguni at 9am on Tuesday. The