Washington: Hours before US President Barack Obama embarked on his four-nation Asia trip, the White House asserted that its effort to build relationship with emerging Asian countries is not at the expense of its traditional European allies.
"Even as we engage more in Asia, it is not at the expense of any other region," said Mike Hammer, spokesman of the National Security Council, White House in a special briefing to foreign correspondents on the eve of Obama departure to India.
"We believe we can continue to grow our partnerships and tight relationships with a number of countries and that advances global interests, in a sense," he said in response to a question.
"So we can have, again, a greater focus on Asia, which is a rising economic region which is very important to the future of our country, while at the same time maintaining that incredible partnership and historical relationship that we have had with our European friends," Hammer said.
"On Europe, the President has spent time in Europe. He feels very comfortable, and he had said this in interviews, with our European partners. And I think what one needs to understand, in the first year we went -- the President did -- on six trips to Europe.
And it`s the kind of enduring partnership -- that the transatlantic alliance, NATO, is a reflection of this – that no issue around the globe is handled by the United States by itself.
It`s always in consultation, coordination, cooperation with our European partners," he observed. "I think that gets lost.
I think in every conversation and issue that the President has, he engages with European leaders to see what`s the best way forward, because we think that together we can certainly advance both our interests better," he said.
"Of course you know, that we have the Lisbon NATO summit, and that will be an opportunity to review NATO`s situation and ISAF`s in Afghanistan, to look at the way forward that we all want to see there in terms of addressing the terrorist threat that emanates from that region, and very specifically to defeat and dismantle al Qaeda," Hammer said.
"And following that NATO summit, you have an EU summit, where many of the very important bilateral trade issues and economic issues that affect both the European Union and the United States will be addressed.
So this is an enduring partnership," he said in response to a question.