Saturday, November 19, 2011

The nine day mission that changes Asia-Pacific's econo-political landscape

- Nov. 12 at Honolulu: The TPP 
"At the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Honolulu on Nov. 12, Obama announced the U.S. and eight other countries - - not including China -- agreed to complete a Trans-Pacific Partnership trade accord within a year. Two-way trade between the U.S. and those nations totaled $171 billion last year, compared with $457 billion with China and $181 billion with Japan". Read more:
"The TPP, an ambitious plan to eliminate most import tariffs between participating countries over 10 years, at present excludes China and it is unlikely the world's second-biggest economy could join without sweeping, potentially painful economic changes such as letting its currency rise in value, more effective protections for the intellectual property rights of foreigners, and ending subsidies for state-owned companies. The TPP aims to include things often left out of ''free trade'' pacts such as services, intellectual property, investments, government procurement and state-owned enterprises.
Nine countries, including the US and Australia, have signed on to negotiations and, in a surprise move, Japan has expressed interest. Should Japan join, the TPP will encompass economies that make up more than one-third of global gross domestic product and create a regional market about 40 per cent larger than the European Union. A senior Australian official says the ''strategic'' aspect of this has been largely overlooked." Read more:
- Nov.16 in Australia: US Marine Corps ''Air Ground Task Force'' on regular station in Darwin
Obama said: ''With my visit to the region, I am making it clear that the United States is stepping up its commitment to the entire Asia-Pacific region'' Read more:
''It's about sending a message to the entire region about the US commitment to be present in a robust way in the South Pacific and south-east area, as well as north-east Asia, where we have a significant presence,'' Rhodes said. Read more:
"assets stationed in Darwin would be roughly equidistant between the central Malacca Strait and central portion of the South China Sea (~3,500 km to each), making them “swing assets” potentially able to complement both Diego Garcia for operations east of Malacca and Guam for contingencies in East and Southeast Asia." Read more:
"The Darwin deployments would also allow the Americans to operate and train with other nations" and "to respond to contingencies that could ''run the gamut from humanitarian to disaster relief, to any other challenge that may emerge in this part of the world''. Read more:
Information on Robertson Barracks and its location
- Nov. 18 in Bali: Clinton to visit Burma
“After years of darkness we’ve seen flickers of progress in these last several weeks,” Mr Obama said at a regional summit in Bali, Indonesia on Friday. “We want to seize what could be a historic opportunity for progress and make it clear that if Burma continues to travel down the road of democratic reform, it can forge a new relationship with the United States.”" Read more:
Burma, a former breadbasket of Southeast Asia, suffered not just repressive government but poor economic management during nearly 50 years of military rule. Read more:
- China response to disputes over South China Sea encouraging
Read it on Global News: Global BC | U.S.: China response to disputes over South China Sea encouraging 

"China signalled a gradual evolution toward resolving quarrels with its Asian neighbours over disputed waters of the South China Sea, a senior U.S. administration official said Saturday, describing the development as an encouraging step forward in easing tensions over the busiest trade route in the world.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao offered a measured response after 16 of the 18 leaders attending a major Asian summit raised the issue of maritime security, primarily on the South China Sea."
"The reaction of Chinese leaders to Obama’s Asia-Pacific tour has been muted. President Hu Jintao, at APEC, said the region should be one where there is active cooperation between the world’s two biggest economies. When the U.S.-Australia defense arrangement was unveiled, China’s foreign ministry said it needed to be studied to assess their benefit for the region." Read more:
And Chinese Global Times simply publishes "Full text of joint statement of China-ASEAN commemorative summit":
While just less than four weeks ago it voiced aggressively and menaced "Countries like the Philippines and Vietnam": "If these countries don't want to change their ways with China, they will need to prepare for the sounds of cannons. We need to be ready for that, as it may be the only way for the disputes in the sea to be resolved." Read more"

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