Obama Sees Economic Power of Asia-Pacific Region – NYTimes.com

Diplomacy amidst the white sand beaches and pineapple farms of Hawaii:

Underscoring the region’s importance to the U.S., Obama on Saturday, as expected, announced the broad outlines of an agreement to create a transpacific trade zone encompassing the United States and eight other nations. He said details must still be worked out, but said the goal was to complete the deal by next year. ‘I’m confident we can get this done,” he said.

On a day of heavy diplomacy, the president also was looking to contain deepening worries over Iran amid a fresh U.N. atomic agency report that Iran is working secretly on a nuclear weapon.

On the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific economic summit, Obama met with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and was to meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. The timing of the meetings with the Russian and Chinese leaders was particularly significant as Obama seeks to increase world pressure on Iran.

via Obama Sees Economic Power of Asia-Pacific Region – NYTimes.com.

Another interesting quote on any China wasn’t invited to the ‘trade bloc’ dance:

In a sign of potential tension with China, Mike Froman, a deputy national security adviser who focuses on international economic matters, shrugged off complaints from China that it had not been invited to join the trade bloc. He told reporters that China had not expressed interest in joining and said the trade group “is not something that one gets invited to. It’s something that one aspires to.”


6 thoughts on “Obama Sees Economic Power of Asia-Pacific Region – NYTimes.com”

  1. I think this is a perfect example of regional power struggles like we used to see in the Cold War. A free trade region with some of the neighbors of China would definitely promote US interests in the area and help align those countries with us. After all, who can deny sweet trade deals with the U.S.? Anyway, as political/economic boundaries are drawn between the two superpowers here, I thought it was interesting how many wealthy Chinese families are emigrating or looking to emigrate to the US (mainly for better education). This shift of wealthy families may start to strain the yuan as it notices a significant amount of “capital flight”. What will definitely be welcomed by us will be rued by the Chinese and you may see them imposing restrictions to reign this in.

    Even though President Obama was able to reach a common statement with China against Iran, I think you’ll start to see a stronger polarization of beliefs between China as time progress. Which, when it comes to real blows, will be quite an interesting match-up. With economies so intertwined, I think that we’ll see a Gandalf and the Balrog conclusion. That is if this riff becomes more prevalent.

    Here’s the article about rich Chinese people heading for America!: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/11/china-rich-emigrate?INTCMP=SRCH

  2. I agree with James that although Pres. Obama may have been able to reach a rough consensus with China, as time progresses the differences in opinion between the two countries regarding Iran will become more apparent. In the following article, it explains why China is taking the stance that it is. While China does not have many cultural similarities with Iran, it does have a very fruitful economic relationship. According to this article, the two countries do about $40 billion worth of business each year, including Iran supplying a large part of China’s oil. Based on this number, we can easily see why China is backing Iran in regards to sanctions. It is possible to compare this action with the US’s actions in the Middle East-would the US really have attacked after 9/11 if it had not been worried about the oil it was receiving? While moral and security issues are often cited, powerful countries are often manipulated by their suppliers, especially when the item being supplied is crucial to the well being of a state; oil can be included in this category.

    So is China backing Iran because of oil, because they don’t want to agree with the US, or because they actually believe in the cause of the Iranians? Only China can tell us that, although as the Iranian threat becomes more apparent and more dangerous to the world, the reason for their stance may become more apparent.


  3. With Europe again on the brink of recession, Asia’s vital role as a driver of the global economy has gained even greater urgency. But to be honest I wonder why efforts to facilitate trade with Asia did not happen sooner. For much of the latter 20th century Japan and China have played huge roles as the second and third economies in the world. The “four tigers,” Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore have similarly made a name for themselves as economic powerhouses. It seems to me that this shift in focus from the West to the East is the right move for the US right now, and actually fits well in to what many see as historical patterns. After all, before the rise of the West during the age of exploration and later, industrialization, East Asia was the wealthiest regions in the world and a hub of international trade.

    As for the threat that a growing China poses to America, particularly as the two countries become more and more economically intertwined, I tend to side with the “liberal optimists” who see China as a country still in the infancy of power, who is militarily deficient, and who is more concern with economic growth than anything else. Tensions may collide over heated issues like Taiwan, but for the most part China is still trying to establish itself as a great leader in the international sphere and has too much to lose by starting conflicts with the U.S. Its hard to know how the situation with Iran will work out between the two countries, but I feel that in the long run China will seek reasonable, conciliatory solutions in its dealing with the U.S.

  4. I think it was bold of Obama to go to Russia and China when it’s been well known that these countries don’t usually work well together. But, I think that it’s smart to gain alliance with them even if it’s only one issue that we all agree on right now: Iran should not gain nuclear weapons and become a nuclear state. We are all afraid of what that might do to the balance of world powers, and it will certainly be a threat.
    Although, we all know that there are more economic concerns with these countries. As the United States move more economically towards the Asia-Pacific region of the world, we are sure to rub shoulders a little more aggressively with China. I agree with what has been said above, our differences will start to become more apparent.
    Here is a link to another article discussing the matter: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/13/world/asia/obama-sees-an-opening-on-china-trade.html?scp=2&sq=Russia%20China%20US&st=cse

  5. While I agree in theory that having a trade alliance with China and Russia would greatly help the United States I feel the reality of such an agreement happening is still far away.
    In this article China talks about how they do not feel they should be held responsible to follow economic rules that they dii not participate in the writing. Obama was very direct as he told China to stop “gaming” yet the changes do not seem to becoming.
    I think that the fundamental differences between China and the United States are a major part on why reaching a trade agreement is hard.

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