TOKYO – President Barack Obama said Saturday that he welcomes a robust China on the world scene. In a speech to prominent Japanese, Obama called himself "America's first Pacific president" and urged greater cooperation between the United States and Japan and other Asian countries.
He played down some Westerners' fears of an ascending China, especially in economic affairs.
"We welcome China's efforts to play a greater role on the world stage, a role in which their growing economy is joined by growing responsibility," Obama said.
"The United States does not seek to contain China," he said. "On the contrary, the rise of a strong, prosperous China can be a source of strength for the community of nations."
In a weeklong visit to Asia, Obama is emphasizing cooperation, warning North Korea that there will be tough, unified action by the U.S. and its Asian partners if the Koreans fail to abandon their nuclear weapons programs.