Obama insisted the U.S. is a "Pacific power" that welcomes China's rise, as long as it's responsible
President Obama addressed the Australian Parliament in Canberra on Wednesday. Obama addressed the Parliament a day after announcing a commitment to send military aircraft and up to 2,500 Marines to northern Australia / Reuters
In pledging to "project power and deter threats to peace" in Asia and the Pacific, a region where U.S. allies see China as the primary threat looming, President Obama on Wednesday continued a careful diplomatic balancing act on his current overseas trip that has had him both praising and warning China.
His comments on Wednesday at his current stop in Australia were in almost equal measure a continuation of his statements at the previous stop in Hawaii, where he personally communicated his concern to Chinese President Hu Jintao. Throughout the trip, his message to China has been far more modulated than the harsh attacks routinely voiced back home both in Congress and at the debates in which Republican presidential candidates have tried to top each other in saying how tough they would get with Beijing.
Wednesday -- Thursday in Australia -- in what the White House billed as the major address of the nine-day trip, the president sought to reassure nervous allies about the American commitment to the region. Over the weekend at the APEC summit, the focus was on economic security. In Australia, it shifted to military security, especially in the wake of Chinese claims of sovereignty over the South China Sea and concerns about impending cuts in U.S. defense spending.