Obama's Asia trip fails to achieve goals, experts say

Obama's Asia trip fails to achieve goals, experts say
US President Barack Obama is welcomed by Japan's Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko upon his arrival at the Imperial Palace for a banquet in Tokyo April 24, 2014.

As the dust settles on US President Barack Obama's Asian trip, it seems that Washington got less out of it than its hosts, but Beijing is now more aware of US intentions in the region, observers said.

During Obama's trip, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines have achieved their goal of a greater US security presence but have done little to advance the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a key strategic goal of Obama's economic policy.

"Though Obama tried to avoid directly confronting China during the four-nation visit, he did challenge Beijing by making strident remarks in Japan and signing a military agreement with the Philippines, a move China found provocative," said Sun Zhe, director of the Center of China-US Relations at Tsinghua University.

The International New York Times said in a front page story on Monday under the headline "Avoiding Beijing, but not ignoring it" that "on every stop of his Asian journey in the past week, President Obama has spoken to two audiences: America's allies and China".

Washington and Manila signed a decadelong agreement on Monday to allow a greater US military presence in the Philippines.

Obama warned on Tuesday against the use of force to resolve territorial disputes as he addressed US and Filipino forces in Manila.

"We believe that international law must be upheld, that freedom of navigation must be preserved and commerce must not be impeded. We believe that disputes must be resolved peacefully and not by intimidation or force," he said.

Beijing has said navigational freedom in the South China Sea has never been interrupted and that it believes negotiation is the best way to solve disputes.

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