Although the main thrust of President Obama's Asian visit which started on Sunday in Thailand with a stop in Myanmar today ahead of tomorrow's EAS in Cambodia was the promotion of democracy in the region and the question of territorial disputes in the South China Sea, there was a hint that the economic disputes with China could also figure in tomorrow's talks.
The transcript of a conference call held on Thursday about the itinerary for the Asian visit and published by the White House press office, included the following verdict from Danny Russel the U.S. National Security Council's senior director for Asia: "China is a full participant in the East Asia Summit, and the fact is that the U.S. and China have extensive areas of co-operation in the Asia Pacific region and in the EAS agenda itself, and that's something that the region values and wants to see.
"But as has been pointed out, we have areas of competition and we have areas of difference of view. And we have, in every context made clear to Beijing, that there's a cost to coercive behavior, problematic conduct, whether that's on the economic front or on the security front."
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