Paul Lachine

Obama et les deux futurs de l’Asie

TOKYO – Malgré un continent asiatique de plus en plus prépondérant sur la scène économique mondiale et l’émergence de la Chine en tant que grande puissance – événement historique principal de notre époque, d’une importance considérable pour le monde des affaires de demain – l’attention de l’Amérique se concentre sur d’autres préoccupations. Les attaques terroristes de 2001, suivies par les guerres d’Afghanistan et d’Iraq, la grande contraction de 2008, le Printemps arabe, la crise de la dette souveraine européenne ; tous ces événements ont détourné les États-Unis de l’objectif de création d’une structure de paix durable nécessaire à une Asie aujourd’hui renaissante.

En novembre, le président américain Barack Obama aura la possibilité de redresser ce déséquilibre lorsqu’il accueillera le sommet de la Coopération économique Asie-Pacifique qui aura lieu à Hawaï, son état natif. La réunion tombe à point nommé, dans la mesure où plusieurs poudrières sont sur le point d’exploser sur le continent asiatique.

La mer de Chine méridionale, par exemple, fait aujourd’hui l’objet de revendications concurrentes relatives à ses îles, ses atolls, ses fonds marins ; la Chine affirmant notamment de manière audacieuse l’appartenance de cet ensemble au territoire souverain chinois. Cette année, lors du sommet de l’ASEAN qui s’est tenu à Bali, il a été convenu que ces litiges territoriaux seraient réglés au moyen de négociations bilatérales. Toutefois, l’ampleur des revendications chinoises a condamné cet accord dès ses premières heures. La position chinoise sur ce point est en effet sans équivoque : la mer constitue un intérêt national majeur, au même titre que Taiwan et le Tibet, pour lequel le pays est disposé à prendre les armes.

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