11/07/2012, 00.00
UNITED STATES - ASIA
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As the world congratulates Obama, reactions in Asia are lukewarm

As expected, the international community congratulated the Democratic president on his re-election. However, an editorial in the China Daily predicts new "trade problems" with the administration, whilst Iran and Pakistani extremists issue threats. Unlike the Muslim Brotherhood, whose reaction is half-hearted, Europe is very happy about the outcome.

Rome (AsiaNews) - The world has congratulated the newly re-elected US President Barack Obama. However, not everyone is happy. For Europe and the Western world, the election is good news; for a number of Asian governments, four more years of Obama will be a challenge.

China, America's largest trading partner, congratulated Barack Obama on his re-election.  "President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao sent messages of congratulations to President Obama on his being re-elected president of the United States," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in Beijing.

Vice President Xi Jinping, who is almost certain to take the ruling Communist Party's top post of general-secretary during the congress, also sent a message of congratulation to Vice President Joe Biden, the foreign ministry spokesman said. However, on its editorial page the China Daily warns of new "trade problems" with this administration.

In Moscow, Washington's historic Cold War adversary, reactions are cautious. Whilst President Putin sent a personal message of congratulations, Prime Minister Medvedev praised the newly re-elected president as an "understanding and reliable" partner. A member of the Russian parliament, the Duma, said however that provocations would not be admitted.

For Israel, Obama's victory is "good news" even though the relationship between the two countries is not as close as under Republican administrations.

For Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, "The strategic alliance between Israel and the United States is stronger than ever."

"I will continue to work with President Obama to ensure the vital security interests of Israel and the United States," he added.

Palestinians, who hoped to see Obama re-elected, it is even better news. Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat expressed hopes that Obama will focus in his second term on "democracy, peace, and stability" in the region, the implementation of a "two-state solution" and get Israel to withdraw to the 1967 borders.

For the Arab world in general and Egypt in particular nothing has changed, at least according to Essam el-Erian, deputy chief of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, who insisted that the Arabs must rely on their own resources and that Egypt has to build itself lone. In his view, were it not for American domination, Egypt could draft its own constitution and build its democratic regime and be a model for Africa and the Third world.

Iran is even less diplomatic. According to the Fars news agency, which is close to the Pasdaran, Obama's victory is less to popular support than to the fact that Romney lacks what it takes to win. One critical point for Fars is his reputation as another "Bush," whilst American Jews are close to Obama.

For Ihsanullah Ihsan, spokesman for armed Tehrik-e-Taleban Pakistan (TTP), an armed militant group, there is no difference between Obama and other leaders because the US remains the "main enemy".

Europe appears more positive in its reactions. German Chancellor Angela Merkel congratulated Barack Obama on his re-election, praising the US leader for the discussions over issues such as Afghanistan and the global economic downturn.

European Union President Herman Van Rompuy more modestly twitted that he was "very happy".

British Prime Minister David Cameron was happier. "Warm congratulations to my friend @BarackObama," Cameron wrote on his Twitter account. "Look forward to continuing to work together."

French President François Hollande also warmly congratulated Obama as did India.

"The government and people of India have sent their congratulations to President Obama on his winning a second mandate from the people of the US who have expressed their will in the great tradition of democracy in their country," the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

Similarly, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warmly congratulated Obama, saying that he "looks forward to continuing to work with President Obama and his administration".

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