- Language Tips
WASHINGTON - The US government will pursue a stable and constructive relationship with China, as part of its strategy of rebalancing to Asia, in order to address diplomatic and economic challenges in today's world, a senior White House official said Thursday.
Speaking at the think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies, Tom Donilon, national security advisor to US President Barack Obama, outlined the reasons and goals of the US Pivot to Asia that the Obama administration began implementing during his first term.
Donilon said the rebalancing is a sustained mutli-dimensional strategy, and "a long-term effort to better position ourselves for the opportunities and challenges we're most likely to face in this century."
Pursing a stable and constructive relationship is one of the essential elements of the strategy aimed at advancing US national security interests, he said, citing "there are few diplomatic and economic challenges that can be addressed in the world without having China at the table: from North Korea (the DPRK), to Iran, to Syria, to global economic rebalancing and climate change."
"Getting the US-China relationship right is a long-term effort, and we will continue to make this a priority in President Obama's second term," he said.
Noting that there are elements of both cooperation and competition in the US-China ties, Donilon said the US policy has been to seek to balance these two elements in a way that increases both the quantity and quality of its cooperation with China as well as its ability to compete.
"At the same time, we seek to manage disagreements and competition in a healthy - and not disruptive - manner," he added.
Donilon said through high-level consultations with Beijing, such as the Strategic and Economic Dialogue, the US approach toward China has yielded important results that advance US national security interests.
The US has elicited "significant and sustained Chinese cooperation regarding Iran's and North Korea's (DPRK) nuclear and missile programs." On the economic front, the US coordinated with China to jump start the global economic recovery in 2009 and to build the G20 into the leading global economic institution, while the US-China military relations have been gaining momentum, he said.
While urging Beijing to assume responsibilities commensurate with its growing global impact and its national capabilities, Donilon said one of US policy goals is "to work with China to strengthen institutions ... and enhance the ability of these institutions to address regional and global challenges."
During his speech, Donilon also explained the reasons why Obama chose southeast Asia as the destination of his first foreign trip since winning reelection last week.
Obama is set to visit Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia on November 17-20, during which he will also hold talks with leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and attend the East Asia Summit.
"His decision to travel to Asia so soon after his re-election speaks to the importance that he places on the region and its centrality to so many of our national security interests and priorities," he said.