Obama to make historic Burma visit during three-day Asia trip
Barack Obama on Saturday left for his fifth trip to Asia since becoming president, part of a long-term re-balancing of US strategy away from Europe and the Middle East.
The highlight of the trip will be a potentially emotional meeting with the Burmese dissident and human rights campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi at her home in Rangoon, a visit few in America would have thought possible when Obama was first voted into office in 2008.
Just as important as trying to help Burma emerge as a fully-fledged democracy are his trips to Thailand and Cambodia, which is hosting a meeting of east Asian leaders, including those of Japan and China.
The Obama administration has been open about the dangers to US dominance posed by the rapid rise of China.
The long-term US aim is to contain it, to prevent it becoming the pre-eminent power in the region, and to compete on at least equal terms economically and militarily.
"We have in every context made clear to Beijing that there's a cost to coercive behaviour, problematic conduct, whether that's on the economic front or on the security front," Danny Russel, senior director for Asia on the White House's national security council, told reporters in a conference call ahead of Obama's trip.
"Our objective is to shape the environment in the Asia-Pacific region in which the peaceful rise of important countries, including China, contributes to the common good, is fundamentally stabilising and not destabilising."
Posted by: tipper 2012-11-17