October 13, 2011 12:46
The Washington Post on Wednesday quoted President Lee Myung-bak as saying that while many Asian countries wish to maintain good relations with China, they also want to keep China in check and therefore U.S. "re-engagement" in Northeast Asia is crucial.
The paper interviewed Lee on Seoul on Monday. It asked him to share his views on the expansion of China's influence over Asian countries and the role of U.S. It quotes Lee as replying it is "understandable and unavoidable" that Asian countries are developing close economic ties with China, but "at the same time, many countries worry about sustainable security, peace, values such as democracy… U.S. re-engagement is crucial for that."
The interview was only published online.
In response to apparent jitters here that the statement could alienate China by implying that it is not beneficial to democracy and stability, Cheong Wa Dae published the whole transcript of the interview, saying the paper misreported Lee's remarks.
In the transcript, Lee says, "Of course, when it comes to economy, Asian countries trade more and more with China. But all countries not only consider economy but also the balance of power, peace, and security, and from that angle, I believe many Asian countries may think of the role of U.S. in Asia positively."
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