‘Strong relations with India, China major Bush legacy’

November 22nd, 2008 - 11:11 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Nov 22 (IANS) “Very aware” of the rise of East Asia and the emergence of China, President George W. Bush had built “strong relations” with India, China and other major powers of the region, says a senior aide.”When historians look back on the last eight years, one of the key changes in the world, transformations in the world, will be the rise of East Asia and the emergence of China,” said Dennis Wilder National Security Council Senior Director for Asian Affairs, Friday.

“I think what people will also see is that President Bush was very aware of that trend and took advantage of that trend to build American relations in this region,” he said talking to reporters aboard Air Force One as Bush flew to Lima, Peru for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.

“One of the things the Secretary of State (Condoleeza Rice) has talked about is that we are in a remarkable place today with our relationships with East Asia,” Wilder said according to the transcript posted on White House website.

“We have strong relations now with India, China, Japan, (South) Korea, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand - all of the major powers of East Asia we now have strong and productive relationships with. Never before in American history have we been able to make that statement as strongly as we can today,” he said.

Asked how Bush would like to be remembered in the region, Wilder said: “I think that, first of all, he would say that he worked hard to understand this region, worked hard to build really strong relationships with leaders in this region. “I’ve had the privilege to sit in on his meetings with those leaders. These are genuine relationships,” he added.

“We’re very proud of the strategic economic dialogue between us and the Chinese. We very much hope the new administration will continue that, because the President believes, and has always believed, that engagement and bringing China in as a responsible stakeholder into the international community was key to getting China right.”

The summit of Group of Twenty leading economies (G20) “was a real sign of that, that there is a shift of gravity in world economic relations from West to East,” Wilder said.

“And the fact that the international financial conference included the nations of East Asia - India, China, South Korea, Japan, others -shows the importance now to us of East Asia, importance to the global economies,” he said.

“And the President I think understood that very early on, and built those relationships and spent time on those relationships,” Wilder said.

“So all across the region I think these leaders respect his (Bush’s) leadership, respect his strength and, again, respect what he’s done to build free markets and opportunities for both the American people and East Asians to prosper.

“And there’s no question that East Asians have prospered very well because of the policies this administration took,” Wilder said.

At the State Department, spokesman Sean McCormack was somewhat sceptical of National Intelligence Council’s report on global trends predicting a diminished US influence going into 2025.

“It’s, I guess you can say, one view of the world peering into the future,” he said asserting “the United States has been, is, and will continue to be a critically important part of the international system.”

Asked about the rise of China and India, McCormack said: “China and India, two examples, are going to be important countries within the international system. Clearly, they are growing economic powers.”

“But, you know, again, I’m not going to try to peer into the crystal ball and offer assessments. That’s one view. I’m sure that there are other views,” he said.

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