As China's power rises in Asia, the United States isn't going anywhere but rather is making the Asia-Pacific region a top military priority, US President Barrack Obama said Thursday in Australia. China meanwhile, is reacting warily to the news.
Obama said the US won't post a direct threat to China and the two countries should seek to avoid military conflict. China has expressed concern about America's troop build-up in Australia, while the United States is on edge over widespread Chinese expansion of power across Asia and continuing conflicts like those surrounding the South China Sea.
"We'll seek more opportunities for cooperation with Beijing, including greater communication between our militaries to promote understanding and avoid miscalculation," Obama said in his speech to the Australian Parliament. "We will do this, even as continue to speak candidly with Beijing about the importance of upholding international norms and respecting the universal human rights of the Chinese people."
In Beijing a day earlier, response to US plan was less than enthusiastic.
"It may not be appropriate to intensify and expand military alliances at a time when the economy is still recovering. The move may not be in the interest of countries in the region," the Global Times newspaper quoted Liu Weimin, a spokesman of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as saying. "The US has repeatedly said it has no intention to constrain China, and has expressed its support of a strong, prosperous and stable China. We hope the US will fulfill its pledges."