US needs concrete action for new Asia strategy: expert
WASHINGTON (Yonhap) -- Despite its stated Asia pivot, the Obama administration still lacks "concrete action" to implement its verbal commitments, a Korean pundit said.
"The United States has been arguing that it is an Asia-Pacific country. Unfortunately, such rhetoric has not been substantiated through concrete policy or action," Choi Kang, a South Korean diplomacy expert, said in a report Wednesday on the website of the Council on Foreign Relations, a Washington-based think tank.
He serves as president of the Institute of Foreign Policy and National Security at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy, created in March as part of Seoul's new process of recruiting and training career diplomats.
He said Washington's policy has been relatively reactive to regional dynamics even though it has declared the rebalancing of priorities toward Asia after a decade of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Despite the emergence of new challenges, such as the rise of China and intensified North Korean provocations, the United States has maintained nearly the same level of engagement and presence in the region since the end of the Cold War," he pointed out. "It continues to appear preoccupied with the Middle East."
Choi said most East Asian nations welcome Washington's initiative on the region as a stabilizing force in the face of China's rising influence.
But he advised the U.S. to build up the reliability of its regional policy through "sustainability and consistency."
"The United States should strengthen its relationships with the region across various dimensions and issue areas, not only through verbal commitments but through concrete action" he said. "It should try to build a system for regional cooperation and integration so as to become a real 'resident power' in the region."