“Just this morning, my administration took a new action to hold China accountable for trade practices that harm American automakers,” Obama said at an appearance in this manufacturing town just south of Toledo, where he kicked off a two-day bus tour of Ohio and Pennsylvania...
“Americans aren’t afraid to compete. I believe in trade,” Obama told the crowd of about 500 outside the Wolcott House Museum. “American workers build better products than everyone else. As long as we play on a fair playing field . . . we’ll do just fine.”
The Philippines and China have been locked in a tense standoff for two months over rights to a triangular cluster of reefs and rocks in the South China Sea known as Scarborough Shoal. While Mr. Aquino said he did not want to drag the United States into the conflict, he clearly hoped for Mr. Obama’s diplomatic support.
And he got it, if obliquely, on Friday. Mr. Obama told reporters after the meeting with Mr. Aquino that the United States and the Philippines would “consult closely together” as part of “the announced pivot by the United States back to Asia,” which he said should serve as a reminder that “in fact, the United States considers itself, and is, a Pacific power.”
That quickly unraveled at the hospital, where Chen said he wanted U.S. help to flee China with his family because he feared for their safety.
The situation has tested the Obama administration's approach to relations with China, straining its commitment to uphold human rights even as it strives to maintain steady ties with Beijing.
[Chen Guangcheng] escaped from house arrest last month and took refuge in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, setting off a behind-the-scenes diplomatic effort intended to prevent the situation from derailing the top-level meetings with Clinton and Geithner.
On Wednesday, all seemed resolved when the 40-year-old Chen left the embassy to join his family at a Beijing hospital, with U.S. officials saying that he never requested asylum and that China gave assurances that he and his family would not face further persecution.
President Obama announced a new trade case against China Tuesday, accusing the country of messing with the global marketplace by imposing unfair restrictions on [rare earth metals] used to make everything from high-tech batteries to flat-screen TVs...
"Now if China would simply let the market work on its own, we would have no objections. Their policies currently are preventing that from happening, and they go against the very rules that China agreed to follow."
Obama said the United States cannot let new energy markets "take root in some other country because they were allowed to break the rules."
Obama is also frustrated with Chinese economic practices.
He continued his own tough talk on Wednesday, chiding foreign competitors such as China for not playing "by the same rules" at a campaign-style visit at Master Lock's Milwaukee factory and highlighting his creation of a Trade Enforcement Unit to investigate unfair trade practices in China and other countries.
Obama has sharpened his rhetoric against China in recent months, a move analysts says is positioned partly as a buffer to Republican criticism.
"The United States has alienated 1 billion Chinese. It's not smart public diplomacy," Shen Dingli, a professor of American studies at Shanghai's Fudan University, said Monday.
The English-language China Daily in its lead editorial on Monday accused the United States of "scaremongering" over the perceived threat of China's rise and a signed Op-Ed article on Sunday declared, "East Asia not U.S. playground."
In doing so, the president will make it clear the Chinese must “follow the rules of the road,” as one administration official put it this week.
High on the list of U.S. priorities is getting commitments from China to enact more flexible currency rate standards to help balance trade; respect intellectual property rights; and adopt a less aggressive military posture in the disputed South China Sea.
As he began a nine-day trip to the Asia-Pacific region Friday, President Obama was aiming to reassure jittery U.S. allies and emerging nations that they have another avenue to prosperity at a time when an increasingly aggressive China is extending its sphere of influence.
At each stop — a pair of regional summits in Honolulu and in Bali, Indonesia, bookending a visit to Australia to highlight a military alliance — Obama is expected to send a clear signal that the United States is a “Pacific power,” eager to help build economic success and security in the fast-developing region.
President Obama increased pressure on China to immediately revalue its currency on Thursday, devoting most of a two-hour meeting with China’s prime minister to the issue and sending the message, according to one of his top aides, that if “the Chinese don’t take actions, we have other means of protecting U.S. interests.”
But Prime Minister Wen Jiabao barely budged beyond his familiar talking points about gradual “reform” of China’s currency policy, leaving it unclear whether Mr. Obama’s message would change Beijing’s economic or political calculus.
President Obama met with the Dalai Lama -- the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader -- at the White House on Thursday despite strong objections from Chinese government officials...
Obama's meeting with the Dalai Lama "runs against the repeated commitments by the U.S. government that the U.S. recognizes Tibet as part of China and gives no support to 'Tibet independence,' " Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said.
During the meeting, Obama stressed his "strong support for the preservation of Tibet's unique religious, cultural and linguistic identity and the protection of human rights for Tibetans," according to a White House statement.
In six hours of meetings, at two dinners and during a stilted 30-minute news conference in which President Hu Jintao did not allow questions, President Obama was confronted, on his first visit, with a fast-rising China more willing to say no to the United States.
On topics like Iran (Mr. Hu did not publicly discuss the possibility of sanctions), China’s currency (he made no nod toward changing its value) and human rights (a joint statement bluntly acknowledged that the two countries “have differences”), China held firm against most American demands.
White House officials maintained they got what they came for — the beginning of a needed give-and-take with a surging economic giant.
Delight at Barack Obama's victory reached China yesterday - and even spilled over into the state media.
"Like American people on the other side of the Pacific, we are elated, too, at the landslide win of Democrat Barack Obama," said a commentary in the English-language China Daily newspaper...
"His election and his leftist economic policy that 'robs the rich to give to the poor' has drawn more attention of American young people to politics. That's a really good thing," said Ou Ning, a Beijing-based artist and curator.