US says aware of Asian nations'' apprehensions on China

Lalit K Jha

Washington, Jan 15 (PTI) Ahead of President Hu Jintao''sstate visit here next week, the US has said it is aware ofapprehensions of Asian countries about emergence of anassertive China and insisted that it would take all necessarysteps to protect their security interests while trying todevelop its ties with Beijing.

This was stated by US National Security Adviser TonDonilon during a White House briefing yesterday, whilespeaking on broad contours of the American relationship withthe second largest economy of the world, ranging from Sino-USeconomic and military ties to global issues of North Korea andIran and those related to human rights.

Donilon bifurcated the Sino-US ties in four baskets. "Thefirst basket is clearly the overall relationship, its purpose,where are the areas of cooperation; do we have the rightmechanisms in place; and again, and how we see thatrelationship developing over the next 10 and 15 and 20 years."

"We are going about this in a steady, careful, dynamicway. We are engaged in how to best pursue a positive,cooperative and contemplative relationship with China,pursuing our interests ... (that) we think are in the interestof the globe on so-called cross-cutting issues," he said.

The basket two would be the security and politicalissues, he said, adding that prominent among them are Iran,North Korea and Sudan; besides re-establishment of military-to-military relationship. "We have spent an enormous amount oftime with the Chinese during the course of this administrationand we''ve actually made quite a bit of progress."

The third basket includes economic issues. "There''sobviously the macroeconomic aspects, currency appreciation andrebalancing efforts that we''ve been working on bilaterallywith the Chinese, but also in the context of multilateralorganisations like the G20. There''s a whole basket of accessissues, business practice issues," he said.

"Fourth basket is cross-cutting so called global issuesof special concern. Human rights would fall into thatcategory," Donilon said, adding that the US does raise theseissues with China.

"The President stays well informed about the dynamicsaround these issues in China, and indeed asked for a set ofoutside experts to come in yesterday, as we said. Third, yousaw the President speak out at the time that the NobelCommittee awarded (jailed Chinese dissident) Liu Xiaobo theNobel Prize, and so speaking out publicly on these issues isalso important," he noted.

Acknowledging that the US relationship with China iscentral to its policies in Asia Pacific and also for stabilityin that region, Donilon, without naming any country, said theUS is aware of the apprehensions of other Asian nations aboutemergence of an assertive China and assured that it would takeall necessary steps to protect their security interests, whiletrying to develop its ties with Beijing.

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