Nov. 20 (EIRNS)–Obama is now in Kuala Lumpur for the ASEAN Summit and the East Asia Summit (EAS). He spoke at a Town Hall meeting, boasting that the subject of the summits would be world terrorism and Chinese aggression in the South China Sea.
The likely reality, however, is that he will get the same result as at the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ meeting at the beginning of November, where ASEAN ministers rejected Obama’s demand (delivered by Defense Seecretary Ash Carter) to include an attack on China in the final communiqué.
Malaysia, responsible for preparing a draft for the final communiqué of the ASEAN Summit, has again left out any mention of the South China Sea. While Obama may have felt compelled to keep quiet at the just completed APEC meeting (since it is explicitly intended as an economic forum), he is hell bent on getting his way in Malaysia.
Even on trade, Obama was essentially snubbed at the APEC meeting. While he focused on the progress in the TPP, calling on other nations (except China, of course) to join, the final communiqué reflected the dominent attitude of the Asian nations, that “We reiterate our belief that the FTAAP should be pursued as a comprehensive free trade agreement by building on ongoing regional undertakings.” FTAAP, the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific, is an inclusive, fair-trade deal, unlike TPP. The communiqué only “noted” the initial passage of the TPP, but “encouraged” both the FTAAP and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a China-sponsored agreement among Asian nations only.