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Financial Times: Obama Walks Into Crossfire of Asian Tensions

Authors: Geoff Dyer, Demetri Sevastopulo, and Simon Mundy
February 7, 2014

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"The US has been particularly frustrated at the deterioration in relations between Tokyo and Seoul, as it believes that relationship is important to help check the rise of China in the region, which is one reason that some high-profile Asia experts in the US have been urging Mr Obama to visit South Korea."

US President Barack Obama has been drawn into the tense relations between Japan and South Korea, America's two closest allies in the region, even before he has officially revealed his planned Asia trip in April.

The sensitivities surrounding his itinerary highlight the difficulties facing the US as it seeks to implement its "pivot" to Asia amid a contest for power in the region with an increasingly confident China.

Tensions in the Pacific are high because of territorial disputes between China and its neighbours, in addition to concerns in Beijing and Seoul about the actions and rhetoric of Shinzo Abe, Japan's prime minister.

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