Huanqiu (Global Times) published a commentary discussing the intention of Obama’s Asian trip. A brief summary of the commentary follows:
Obama arranged for the first stop in his four-country trip to Asia to be in Japan and the final stop in the Philippines. He had special motives for this trip: Both countries have conflicts with China on maritime issues. In recent years they have increasingly taken a hardline stance against China in their China policy, frequently creating trouble and provoking China. This has in large part catered to the needs of U.S. strategy. Obama’s trip seems to fulfill the purpose of both of them. It acts as a reward for their actions as well as an encouragement.
In the East China Sea and on the Diaoyu Islands issue, the United States is obviously partial to Japan. On the South China Sea issue, the United States’ involvement is getting deeper by the day, although it claims not to hold any position. Especially in the Sino-Philippine controversy, if there was only America’s "shadow" in the past, then clearly the United States’ "Black Hand" is intervening right now. The Philippines dares to challenge the Chinese brazenly; the United States factor behind [their action] cannot be "denied."
On the "war front" of geopolitical gaming and rule-making between China and the Philippines surrounding the South China Sea, the United States stance coincides with that of the Philippines. Both countries rely on each other, seeking to win over other countries to form "the South China Sea united front" to contain China. Especially this time when the United States and the Philippines have signed a 10-year agreement to strengthen defense cooperation, the fact that both countries share a common "imaginary" enemy has become self-evident.
Source: Huanqiu (Global Times), April 29, 2014