Obama Seeks to Reassure Anxious Asians on “Rebalance”
WASHINGTON, Apr 22 2014 (IPS) – As he embarks Tuesday on a major trip through East Asia, U.S. President Barack Obama will be focused on reassuring anxious – albeit sometimes annoying – allies that Washington remains determined to deepen its commitment to the region.
Just how annoying some allies can be was underlined on the eve of his departure as Japan’s premier, Shinzo Abe, provoked renewed protests from both China and South Korea over his sending a ceremonial offering to the Yasukuni Shrine, the temple which honours Tokyo’s war dead, including senior officers responsible for atrocities committed by Japan in both countries during World War II.
Alan Romberg, a former top State Department expert who now directs the East Asia programme at the Stimson Centre here, agreed. “It’s a totally different situation,” he told IPS.
Besides the lack of any defence agreement, “if you look at the overall importance of East Asia to the U.S. and global peace and security,” he added, “there’s also no comparison.”
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