Obama: “Does not seek to contain China.” Think again.
It looks like 2010 will be the worst diplomatic relations between China and the US since 1989. It started with the censorship issue with google, then trying to isolate China from Iran’s with its nuclear program, the issue with the sinking of the Cheonan resulted in war games between South Korea and US in the Yellow sea. Perhaps these issues will come and pass, but there are more distressing issues in Southeast Asia.
According to this articles, there are several things happened between US and several countries in Southeast Asia. US has resumed relations with the Kopassus, Indonesia’s special forces, which had past history of atrocities and assassinations. Relations with Malaysia has improved despite Anwar Ibrahim being put on trial for sodomy. Laos (an ally of China) dispatched dispatched its highest delegation to the US since 1975. The Obama administration has ended Bush administration policy towards Myanmar by trying to reach out to that nation. US is reengaging military relations with Cambodia.
Recently, Hillary Clinton came into Vietnam as a symbolic gesture to commemorate the 15th anniversary of relations between Vietnam and the US. Furthermore, she also went to the ASEAN meeting and said, “The United States has a national interest in freedom of navigation, open access to Asia’s maritime commons, and respect for international law in the South China Sea.” She also wanted to make land disputes in the Spratly Island as a discussion against China. The last time when the US was this engaged in Southeast China was during the Vietnam War.
So does Obama want to contain China? It is anybody’s guess, but it seems that US already have discussions of how to counterbalance China’s influence over Southeast Asia even before Obama was elected as president.
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