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02/16/2012

Xi Comes to Washington

Editorial from a Chinese government mouthpiece, Global Times.

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping started his visit to the US today, aimed at realizing the consensus reached by the heads of the two countries last year. The special position of Xi in the upcoming leadership change also signals the special meaning the visit holds for the Sino-US relationship.

In the 1990s, Chinese diplomatic circles believed the Sino-US relationship would become neither too good nor too bad. During this period, the world has changed greatly.

Among the series of variables between China and the US, the most fundamental is the balance of power between the two nations.

In 2011, China’s GDP accounted for 45 percent of that of the US, but China’s trade and manufacturing volume have surpassed the US. Never in history has a second largest economy surpassed the US in trade and manufacturing. The US has never met a competitor like China before.

The US is now encountering difficulties in its development. The sense of insecurity Americans feel toward China’s rise has become an outlet for them to express their anxiety at this time.

The environment in which China makes policies for the US is also changing.

In the past, elitism played a dominant role, and the top leaders set the tone of Chinese policy. Now, public opinion can influence foreign diplomacy.

In recent years, specific Sino-US frictions have occurred more often, which, despite the more frequent meetings between high-level officials from the two countries, have diluted the two countries’ emphasis on each other’s strategic importance.

Agreements previously reached by the two countries are gradually disintegrating and new consensuses are yet to form. In this period, it is very important for the two countries to travel smoothly through the process.

At present, there are impulses from both countries to counter each other. Neither country is confident it can keep such emotions in check.

But obviously, this job will prove more difficult for the US.

The rise of public opinion brings new complexities to Chinese diplomacy. The US has to face not only a stronger China but also a more complex China.

Even if this is the case, in the era of globalization, neither country wants to be the other’s enemy while they are so interdependent.

No one can solve the structural contradiction between China and the US, so whether they like it or not, they have to let the result of natural competition make the decision.

It is hoped Xi’s visit to the US will become a good opportunity for the two countries to ponder deeply on the bilateral relations strategically. They both need to be clear who they are and how they can enhance their relations.

---

Separately, a recent Japanese government-backed report warned:

“China’s assertive actions in the South China Sea over the past few years have aggravated the security environment surrounding the country,” the report said, pointing to a series of military drills conducted by the People’s Liberation Army Navy and government maritime and fishery patrols in the past two years, the construction of a new submarine base on Hainan Island, China’s gateway to the South China Sea, and other military activities that show China is increasing its presence in the South and East China seas.

The report continued: “Applying pressure backed by force to the disputing countries in Southeast Asia may only drive [Beijing] to safeguard [its] own respective sovereign rights with a more hardline approach, the result of which would be heightening regional tensions.

“This is why the United States believes it now needs to strengthen its political and military involvement in the security of this region.”

As reported by Minnie Chan of the South China Morning Post, “Beijing lays claim to essentially all of the South China Sea, where its claim to ownership of the Spratly archipelago overlaps with claims by Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Brunei and Malaysia.”

Jiang Lifeng, a former director of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ Institute of Japanese Studies, said Japan had overreacted to the PLA Navy’s activities in the East China Sea.

“China will firmly stick to our peaceful development principle despite neighboring countries’ provocative actions, especially the rude demonstration by right-wing politicians on Diaoyu Island to declare their so-called sovereignty early this year,” Jiang said.

“Beijing has been friendly to Japan because we are going to keep good relations with Tokyo, to demonstrate to Southeast Asian territorial claimants that Beijing is sincere about solving our disputes by peaceful negotiations, not violence.”

Source: Global Times, South China Morning Post

Hot Spots will return in two weeks with thoughts on Pakistan.

Brian Trumbore


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-02/16/2012-      
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Hot Spots

02/16/2012

Xi Comes to Washington

Editorial from a Chinese government mouthpiece, Global Times.

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping started his visit to the US today, aimed at realizing the consensus reached by the heads of the two countries last year. The special position of Xi in the upcoming leadership change also signals the special meaning the visit holds for the Sino-US relationship.

In the 1990s, Chinese diplomatic circles believed the Sino-US relationship would become neither too good nor too bad. During this period, the world has changed greatly.

Among the series of variables between China and the US, the most fundamental is the balance of power between the two nations.

In 2011, China’s GDP accounted for 45 percent of that of the US, but China’s trade and manufacturing volume have surpassed the US. Never in history has a second largest economy surpassed the US in trade and manufacturing. The US has never met a competitor like China before.

The US is now encountering difficulties in its development. The sense of insecurity Americans feel toward China’s rise has become an outlet for them to express their anxiety at this time.

The environment in which China makes policies for the US is also changing.

In the past, elitism played a dominant role, and the top leaders set the tone of Chinese policy. Now, public opinion can influence foreign diplomacy.

In recent years, specific Sino-US frictions have occurred more often, which, despite the more frequent meetings between high-level officials from the two countries, have diluted the two countries’ emphasis on each other’s strategic importance.

Agreements previously reached by the two countries are gradually disintegrating and new consensuses are yet to form. In this period, it is very important for the two countries to travel smoothly through the process.

At present, there are impulses from both countries to counter each other. Neither country is confident it can keep such emotions in check.

But obviously, this job will prove more difficult for the US.

The rise of public opinion brings new complexities to Chinese diplomacy. The US has to face not only a stronger China but also a more complex China.

Even if this is the case, in the era of globalization, neither country wants to be the other’s enemy while they are so interdependent.

No one can solve the structural contradiction between China and the US, so whether they like it or not, they have to let the result of natural competition make the decision.

It is hoped Xi’s visit to the US will become a good opportunity for the two countries to ponder deeply on the bilateral relations strategically. They both need to be clear who they are and how they can enhance their relations.

---

Separately, a recent Japanese government-backed report warned:

“China’s assertive actions in the South China Sea over the past few years have aggravated the security environment surrounding the country,” the report said, pointing to a series of military drills conducted by the People’s Liberation Army Navy and government maritime and fishery patrols in the past two years, the construction of a new submarine base on Hainan Island, China’s gateway to the South China Sea, and other military activities that show China is increasing its presence in the South and East China seas.

The report continued: “Applying pressure backed by force to the disputing countries in Southeast Asia may only drive [Beijing] to safeguard [its] own respective sovereign rights with a more hardline approach, the result of which would be heightening regional tensions.

“This is why the United States believes it now needs to strengthen its political and military involvement in the security of this region.”

As reported by Minnie Chan of the South China Morning Post, “Beijing lays claim to essentially all of the South China Sea, where its claim to ownership of the Spratly archipelago overlaps with claims by Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Brunei and Malaysia.”

Jiang Lifeng, a former director of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ Institute of Japanese Studies, said Japan had overreacted to the PLA Navy’s activities in the East China Sea.

“China will firmly stick to our peaceful development principle despite neighboring countries’ provocative actions, especially the rude demonstration by right-wing politicians on Diaoyu Island to declare their so-called sovereignty early this year,” Jiang said.

“Beijing has been friendly to Japan because we are going to keep good relations with Tokyo, to demonstrate to Southeast Asian territorial claimants that Beijing is sincere about solving our disputes by peaceful negotiations, not violence.”

Source: Global Times, South China Morning Post

Hot Spots will return in two weeks with thoughts on Pakistan.

Brian Trumbore