President Barack Obama arrived in Tokyo Thursday, his first stop on an eight-day fence-mending trip focusing on assuring America's Asian allies that the United States is committed to the region both economically and militarily.
After Japan, the president will visit the Philippines, South Korea, and Malaysia.
China is not on the list.
Obama promised a U.S. pivot on its Asian policy, but he still needs to close the deal on America's Trans-Pacific partnership.
***Why are U.S. allies in Asia worried about China? Gordon Chang, author and Forbes.com contributor, lived and worked in China for two decades. He spoke about this and more, on CBN Newswatch, April 22.
All the countries on the president's itinerary are in the midst of disputes with the Chinese government over islands and waters in the South and East China seas.
The White House said the president will reassure its allies that the United States values those relationships.
China expert Gordon Chang is an author and contributor to Forbes.com. Chang told CBN News U.S. allies fear the Obama administration will not respond forcefully to an increasingly belligerent China.
While the United States has increased regional military deployments, some of its Asian allies wonder if its capable of fortifying them against potential Chinese aggression, especially after watching Russia's recent annexation of the Crimea.
"It really is to reassure our friends and allies in East Asia. They've been unnerved by the indecisive diplomacy on the White House, especially in connection with Syria and now in Ukraine," Chang told CBN News.
"We need to be very clear, in public as well as in private, that the United States will defend its allies and friends in East Asia and that we will be the guarantor of security and that the Chinese have to act within norms," he said.