Here is a commentary on those remarks by someone with some experience in Asia:
Some may disagree with the Chairman, either as a statement of fact or just with the idea that he would make such a statement. Some may view this as the US abdicating its role as the global super power and some kind of admission of weakness. It will be interesting to see if the pundits pan this statement.As the spotlight shifts from Europe to Asia we will wish for China to become a more responsible partner in solving problems of mutual interest. That we recognize AND China recognizes that they are a full player is important to smooth relationships in the future. Issues, such as what is the nature of the South China Sea will need full partnership. Claims to the resources in the South China Sea are causing tensions amongst the various nations bordering on the South China Sea. Remember, we have a Mutual Defense Treaty with the Republic of the Philippines.♠ This Pact was recently reaffirmed by Secretary of State Clinton.
However, I think if used correctly this statement can make an effective contribution to support diplomatic efforts. China has long called itself a developing country and used this as an excuse to not act. It wants all the respect of a global power (and overcome the 100 years of humiliation) yet it does not want the responsibility and hides behind the developing nation moniker. I think the Chairman is calling China on its "hide and bide strategy" (hide one's capability and bide one's time and endeavor to achieve something). He is attacking their strategy (as Sun Tzu would have us do) and in effect saying it is now time for China to "put up or shut up" and act responsibly as a global power.
For too long we have looked East across the Atlantic. In this Century we need to also look West across the Pacific.
Regards — Cliff
♠ I know about this Treaty because for a year I was the Assistant Deputy Commander for Operations at Thirteenth Air Force, at Clark Air Base, in the Philippines. I attended one meeting of the US-Philippine Mutual Defense Board and for that meeting in Manila I had to buy an Air Force "White" uniform, a uniform I never wore again.