2011/11/16

US does not fear China: Obama - Lead

CANBERRA, November 16, 2011 (AFP) - US President Barack Obama said Wednesday that the United States did not fear China and was not trying to exclude it from the benefits of its rise, but warned Beijing must play by global rules of the road.

Obama, on the latest leg of his Pacific tour which is shadowed by the implications of China's emergence as a global power, also said Beijing must "rethink" its attitude to global trade.

"The notion that we fear China is a mistake. The notion that we are looking to exclude China is a mistake," Obama said at a news conference in Canberra with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

Obama and Gillard announced that from mid-2012 US Marines would begin deploying to Australia, as part of a US initiative to "rebalance" its military footprint in Asia as Washington pulls out of Afghanistan and Iraq.

The US leader said that Washington had no desire to exclude China from a new initiative to frame a Trans-Pacific Partnership to better integrate the region's powerhouse economies to promote growth.

But he said that to join the grouping once it is up and running in the future, Beijing would have to live up to international standards on issues such as copyright enforcement and intellectual property.

Obama has hardened his tone on China in recent weeks, expressing frustration at Beijing's failure to do more to allow the yuan to reach a fair market level and venting at China's performance on protecting US innovation.