As President Obama begins a week-long visit to Asia, Asian Studies Program Director Constantine Vaporis writes in an Al Jazeera America op-ed that the trip is aimed at reassuring allies in the region that they remain top priorities on his agenda. Vaporis writes adding South Korea and Japan to the itinerary has made the trip even more important as tension between the two countries lingers over the history wars.
“The U.S. administration has made clear that it will not act as mediator between the two sides. Nevertheless, Obama has acted assertively to try to prevent a further erosion of relations between them,” Vaporis writes.
As Obama visits Japan, South Korea, the Philippines and Malaysia, Vaporis offers suggestions for the president for how he should approach all four visits, but writes it will be important to keep one overarching theme in mind.
“Obama’s four-nation trip sends an important message about the U.S.’s commitment to Asia. Only through cooperation and mutual respect will these countries meet the regional challenges they face from China and North Korea,” he adds.
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