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Policy Director James Colbert's Op-Ed on U.S. Return to the Pacific in The Diplomat, 12/14/2011

Can China Handle America’s Return?
December 14, 2011
by James Colbert

Talks last week between Michèle Flournoy, U.S. undersecretary of defense for policy, and China’s Gen. Ma Xiaotian, deputy chief of the People’s Liberation Army general staff, were heavy on feel-good bromides about mutual interests and peaceful cooperation in the western Pacific. However, they predictably left the issues most roiling this critically important region unresolved.

Similar high-level talks, including those held last month between Presidents Barack Obama and Hu Jintao during the APEC summit in Hawaii, are all part of a series of top-level discussions that have been taking place over the past year that have in part been aimed at mollifying a somewhat volatile Beijing in the face of America’s return to the Pacific.

Made possible by the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan and Iraq, the United States’ strategic shift has come not a moment too soon for Washington's friends and allies in the region. These countries have long sought greater U.S. political support and military presence in the face of China’s aggressive employment of its growing power.

Click here to read the full op-ed in The Diplomat

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