Obama Trying to Encircle China With U.S. Trade Partners

Free trade ought to be an end in and of itself


President Obama's push to expand trade with a cluster of mid-sized Asian nations is couched in terms of increasing U.S. jobs and exports, but there's a larger aim: forcing China to speed the opening of its economy and curbing some of the country's economic clout.

Approaching his second term as China inaugurates its own new leadership team, Obama is pushing deeper into a "pivot" toward Asia that aims to strengthen security ties with U.S. allies in the region and reshape the American presence across the continent.