March 3rd, 2013
01:07 AM ET

Should Kerry be visiting China, Japan first?

By Fareed Zakaria

Beijing’s response to the Obama administration’s initial diplomacy was cool, sometimes even combative. Meanwhile in Asia, many of the continent’s other powers had begun worrying about a newly assertive China. From Japan to Vietnam to Singapore, governments in Asia signaled that they would welcome a greater American presence in the region, one that would assure them that Asia was not going to become China’s back yard.

The Obama administration shrewdly responded with its “pivot” in 2011, combining economic, political and military measures, all designed to signal that the United States would strengthen its role in Asia, balancing any potential Chinese hegemony.

The result of the pivot, however, was to further strain relations with Beijing. Today China and the United States maintain mechanisms, such as the strategic and economic dialogue between senior officials, but they are formal and ritualistic. No American and Chinese officials have developed genuinely deep mutual trust.

For more on this, read the Washington Post column here.

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Topics: Asia • China • Japan

soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. MAD

    "Asia was not going to become China’s back yard"? Is the US going to move China or her neighbors to another continent so that it can become America's backyard?

    March 3, 2013 at 2:32 am | Reply
    • Patrick

      Hopefully not, MAD. We have already become the world's biggest bullies and only Russia and China can now stand up to us and that's just plain wrong! Besides, we're in no position to antagonize the Chinese since they're financing a huge part of our current deficit. Only J apan finances more of it.

      March 3, 2013 at 3:30 pm | Reply
      • LOB

        The Chinese are currently rolling all of their long term US debt into short term debt. Currently the US Federal Reserve is the only one buying US government debt- THINGS ARE THAT BAD.

        March 4, 2013 at 1:02 am |
  2. Sal

    Singapore? Why would they be apprehensive of China?

    March 3, 2013 at 4:51 am | Reply
    • hen na gaijin

      Same reason as Vietnam and the Philippines.

      March 10, 2013 at 6:32 am | Reply
  3. John

    Why is USA wasting time in Asia. We need more US presence in other preferable regiones: Middle East, Africa, Russia, Turkey, Bulgaria, ... we need invest more in NATO members, and not Asia. There is no profitable business with Asians, just trouble, non-confidance, false accusations.

    March 3, 2013 at 7:29 am | Reply
  4. j. von hettlingen

    Don't worry, Kerry will visit China and Ja pan soon. His first trip abroad to Europe was to demonstrate what a Europhile he was and to run through places he'd been to as a youth in Europe. Being a Vietnam vet, he must have known East Asia. Who knows, perhaps he'd had bad memories of his time there.

    March 3, 2013 at 10:28 am | Reply
  5. Adrian

    I agree with this. Good analysis.

    March 3, 2013 at 1:25 pm | Reply
  6. md

    Who is the author and what was the name of the book on Asia recommended in today's (March 3rd, 2013) GPS Sunday show?

    March 3, 2013 at 3:30 pm | Reply
  7. sand

    israel is a cancer cell and it must be removed.

    March 3, 2013 at 5:47 pm | Reply
  8. LOB

    Asian Pacific countries know that they need to work with China, they have no choice.

    The US made its 'pivot' into Asia in order to increase the sales of US military weapons but the f35 Lockheed Martin joint Striker Jet is a complete flop and no one is rushing to buy it. Also the United State is bankrupt and the world is moving away from the US dollar for trade so US weapons sales have been very flat.

    The US was going to have to cut its military spending and most of the Asia Pacific is expecting those cuts to be done in the Asia Pacific area – so it will by bye bye USA again.

    March 4, 2013 at 12:55 am | Reply
  9. LOB

    The reason that Kerry went to Europe is because Iran has access to Target2 and can easily sell its good, including oil, using euros – its a little loophole that the EU has given the Iranians. Kerry wants the loophole closed ha ha ha – not a chance.

    The US and Kerry wants the Iranians to be on the same oil for food program that Iraq was on before it was invaded but the rest of the world will not agree to it.

    March 4, 2013 at 1:00 am | Reply
    • Patrick

      Good posting, LOB. Thank you.

      March 4, 2013 at 8:32 am | Reply
  10. Really?

    "United States would strengthen its role in Asia, balancing any potential Chinese hegemony." This is a joke, the US have no business in their "pivot" to Asia other than making Asia another conflict zone to fuel the MIC. Looks like Obama is no better than Bush, Bush bombed the Middle East, Obama's creating conflict in Asia. Two sides of the same coin. The "hope for change"...... is only thing changed where the MIC is focusing the citizens' limited resource on. Sad.

    March 4, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Reply
  11. HonoH San





    March 5, 2013 at 5:46 pm | Reply

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