Cantor: US Needs to Lead, Not Pivot, in International Arena

Image: Cantor: US Needs to Lead, Not Pivot, in International Arena

Monday, 12 May 2014 07:27 AM

By Elliot Jager

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House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said that the Obama administration's characterization of U.S. foreign policy as pivoting toward Asia is a mistake, The Hill reported.

Cantor led a delegation of House members to China, Japan, and South Korea over the congressional break, April 18-27.

Urgent: Do You Approve of Obama's Handling of Foreign Policy? Vote Here

Asia is critical to the country's economic well-being, Cantor said, though talk of a pivot implied that the United States was pulling back from other areas.

"I don’t necessarily like the choice of the word pivot or balance because I don't think it speaks to our commitment to other allies and regions," Cantor told The Hill. It sent the wrong message in particular to Russia's Vladimir Putin, he said.

During the nine-day trip, Cantor told CNBC from Japan that America had to remain engaged around the world.

Cantor's delegation met with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and South Korean President Park Geun-hye. The lawmakers also visited with U.S. military, diplomatic, and business leaders.

Concern over Beijing's territorial claims in the South China Sea were raised throughout the visit, The Hill reported.

The Republican leadership and the Obama administration support finalizing the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, which is seen as bolstering U.S. economic interests in the region, according to The Hill.

President Barack Obama was also in the region during the congressional visit, though he did not go to China. One purpose of the Obama trip was to restore confidence in the ability of the United States to balance China's power in the region.

Asian leaders are concerned that Washington will not be able to honor its obligations in the area due to defense cutbacks. The Republican budget draft calls for the United States to maintain an 11-carrier fleet to signal that it is capable of projecting its might in the region, according to The Hill.

Urgent: Do You Approve of Obama's Handling of Foreign Policy? Vote Here

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