Not even the sharpest media spin can spare the United States from criticism making the rounds in East Asia over President Barack Obama’s inability to show up for the ASEAN-led summit season earlier this month. The contrast could not be clearer. Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang stand out as China’s tag team at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders Meeting in Bali and later the East Asia Summit in Brunei, which chairs ASEAN this year. Yet the US-China rivalry for influence and competing interests in Southeast Asia is nuanced and not zero-sum. It is a mistake to read too much into Obama’s absence this time.
PacNet #76A – Obama’s Summit Absence Needs to be put in Perspective
October 15, 2013