New York: Considering China's economic growth in South Asia as "almost inevitable", US President Barack Obama has pressed for international set of rules to be common for all the rising economies in the region.
"And what we've tried to say to them (China) very clearly is, look, you guys have grown up. You're already the most populous country on earth, depending on how you measure it, the largest or next-largest economy in the world and will soon be the largest economy, almost inevitably," Obama said in an interview to TIME magazine.
Sending out a clear signal that America will continue to be a Pacific power, Obama insisted that "as a principle in that region is, everybody's got to play by the same set of rules, everybody's got to abide by a set of international norms. And that's not unique to China. That's true for all of us."
"You are rapidly consuming more resources than anybody else. And in that context, whether it's maritime issues or trade issues, you can't do whatever you think is best for you. You've got to play by the same rules as everybody else," he added. Obama pointed out that friction with China has been due to the fact that the Asian country still sees themselves as "developing or even poor country that should be able to pursue mercantilist policies that are for their benefit and where the rules applying to them shouldn't be the same rules that apply to the United States or Europe or other major powers."
"I think the Chinese government respects us, respects what we're trying to do, recognises that we're going to be players in the Asia Pacific region for the long term, but I think also recognise that we have in no way inhibited them from continuing their extraordinary growth," Obama added.
He said his administration has over the last three years established a "strong dialogue and working relationship" with Beijing across a whole range of issues.
The US President said it would not be accurate to say that America is building a containment policy against China, going by its recent flurry of diplomatic activity in Asia.
"And where we have serious differences, we've been able to express those differences without it spiralling into a bad place."
First Published: Friday, January 20, 2012, 15:28