Recently, the United States has made frequent high-profile moves in Asia. After the U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta finishes his visit in Japan, South Korea and Indonesia, the U.S. President will attend an informal summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation in Hawaii on Nov. 12 and Nov. 13. The United States is paying increasing attention to Asia. Regarding this issue, a People's Daily reporter interviewed three experts on the issue.
Huang Ping, head of the Institute of American Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
Shen Dingli, executive vice president of the institute of International Studies and the director of the Center for American Studies under Fudan University
Shen Jiru, researcher from the Institute of World Economics and Politics under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
US carrying out 'active defense' in Asia
Question: Some people believe that the more difficult the U.S. domestic situation is, the more eagerly the United States wants to find an external threat. Now, the United States is paying close attention to Asia deliberately or unconsciously. What is your opinion on this issue?
Shen Dingli: Following a decade-long fight against terrorism, the power of the United States is already in decline. It is difficult for the United States to address its problems because of partisan politics, serious setbacks in the financial sector and the objective laws of economic globalization.
Therefore, its worries are on the rise, while its confidence is on the decline. In terms of external factors, China’s GDP, calculated in terms of U.S. dollars, has been up by 450 percent over the past decade, which is 10 times as fast as that of the United States.
Obviously, it is difficult for the United States to get used to such rapid development in China and the performance of China over the past two years. The particular attention paid by the United States to China has reflected its aforementioned mindsets. However, the competition between China and the United States has still been within the normal scope because stabilizing the situation in Asia remains the core goal of the United States.
Shen Jiru: During the Cold War, the United States built a "crescent-shaped" ring of encirclement against socialist countries in Asia ranging from Iraq, Iran, the ASEAN to Japan. Following the end of the Cold War, a majority of countries within the encirclement have established friendly and cooperative partnerships with China except for the respective allies of the United States with both Japan and South Korea.
The influence of the United States in Asia has comparatively dropped, and its "return to Asia" strategy should be interpreted as a "positive defense" geopolitical strategy. The United States aims to work with Japan, South Korea, Australia, Singapore, India and the ASEAN to balance China’s influence, contain China, strengthen its presence and influence in Asia and maximize its interests there.