13/03/2011 Dejar un comentario
China’s President Hu Jintao’s visit to the United States last month is a turning point not only in their bilateral relations but also of global significance. Overshadowed by the unveiling of J-20 stealth fighter test, an aircraft refurbishment project, development of anti-ship ballistic missile and an assertive China in 2010 on territorial issues with India, Japan and Southeast Asian countries, Hu’s visit was aimed at positioning China at a vantage point in global affairs, despite the US reservations. (By Srikanth Kondapalli – Conexión 13)
China’s foreign minister Yang Jiechi, a former ambassador to the US, stated that the outcome of Hu’s visit “bore rich fruit and opened a new chapter of cooperation between the two countries”. This is reflected in a number of areas – economic and trade relations, science and technology promotion, military exchanges, people-to people contacts, etc. Both signed a $45 billion worth deal involving U.S. exports in the fields of agriculture, energy, railways, etc. that enables the US to raise 235,000 new jobs. In a period of financial meltdown and electoral reverses, this deal is essential for shoring up President Obama’s domestic image. They also approved the setting up of a clean energy research centre – in addition to a Centre of Excellence on Nuclear Security – at Beijing. On balance, the US also did concede to Beijing on a number of issues. The Joint Statement, issued on January 11, 2011 underlined that the US “welcomes a strong, prosperous, and successful China that plays a greater role in world affairs” while China suggested that the US could become “an Asia Pacific nation”. While both agreed to work to overcome global and regional security challenges, however, there was no provision of such joint efforts at South Asian region, unlike the 2009 joint statement between the two countries. Nevertheless, the 2011 joint statement suggested that all previous (including the 2009) statements remain valid. New Delhi viewed this as losing ground to Beijing, despite the US assurances. On a number of issues – diplomatic, political, economic and strategic – both, however, have differing views and these could impact global and regional issues in the coming years.
While both so far have 32 years of diplomatic relations, on a number of issues there are serious differences, despite the outward bonhomie. For instance, at the beginning of the US visit, Hu Jintao had laid down his expectations from this visit in the following five main points. They include: 1. to develop a political relationship that featured equality, mutual trust and the precept of seeking common ground while reserving differences; 2. to deepen their comprehensive, cooperative, mutually beneficial and win-win economic ties; 3. to cooperate in meeting global challenges; 4. to promote friendly exchanges between the two peoples and 5. to establish a pattern of high-level contact based on in-depth communication and candid dialogue. It is clear that through these “guiding principles”, stop-gap as they appear, Beijing is insisting that the US responses should be modified and thereby should be accommodative to the Chinese concerns, specifically on China’s sovereignty issues related to Taiwan, Tibet and South China Sea – with the latter issue coming in sharp focus in 2010 as the Southeast Asian nations sought US help in resolving the disputed islands issue. The key issue, as Beijing saw, is with the growing “strategic mutual mistrust” between the two leaderships, a phenomenon that exists not just with the US but also with several Chinese neighbours, viz., Mongolia, South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, India and others. Mistrust between the US and China, as former US ambassador to China Brandt recounted in the Wikileaks cable, include a host of issues ranging from possible US nudge to the disintegration of China to that of China’s support to “rogue” states.
(…..) One of the most sticking points between Beijing and Washington is the former’s lingering suspicion that the US is bent on ushering China into a pluralist society by breaking the authoritarian rule of the communist party. This is expressed in the Chinese opposition to any “peaceful evolution” phenomenon, meaning gradual nullifying the authority of the communist led government. The restriction placed on Google in 2010 by the Chinese government is a case in point, in which Google backed down finally its threat to withdraw from the Chinese cyberspace. The US is also accused of backing and harbouring the democratic rights activists in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square incident in 1989 in addition to raising the issue of human rights violations in different parts of China. The Noble Peace Prize award to the Chinese dissident and democracy rights activist Liu Xiaobo and the Chinese demand that the Prize ceremony be boycotted evoked hardly any interest globally and indicated to the emerging bipolarity in ideological sense (…..)
One of the most contentious issues between China and the US is in the strategic and security fields. This is the main source of mutual mistrust between the two. At issue is the fear of US losing its global dominance due to China rise, while for China, the US is the main source of containment for its rise, although both have entered into a period of mutually beneficial interdependence. Over a period of time, China quietly is following a twin track policy to undermine the US power in the last three decades. Firstly, China had built up coalitions in the international system to counter what Charles Krauthammer wrote in a 1990 article “The Unipolar Moment”. Thus China was involved in working with European countries such as France, Germany and Russia, Asian countries such as India, Indonesia, Iran, while at the same time retaining its influence over North Korea, Myanmar, Pakistan and others. In Africa and South America, likewise, Beijing cultivated Zimbabwe, Sudan, Venezuela, Brazil in addition to Cuba. Through these Beijing supported a string of anti-US policies while carefully seeing to that it does not get too thick into such coalitions. In most of the major crises the world witnessed, China had followed such a policy of pitching other states against the US while retaining its strength and more importantly not muddying its hands and depleting its power. This is reflected in the Iraq campaign by the US and its fallout in the UN debates in 2003, as with Iranian nuclear issue or Doha rounds on tariff reductions, BRICs initiative and at the Copenhagen climate change proposals. Secondly, as China increased trade with the US, it had also started buying US Treasury Securities (financed ironically with trade surpluses) and thereby nullifying the US which is dragged into the counter-terrorism campaign from 2001. Quietly, China had also built up a favourable opinion for itself in the Beltway of Washington and is reflected in not only Kissinger’s untiring efforts to woo China in the last three decades of engagement, but also in Brzezinski’s famous 2009 Group – 2 construct (of tackling global and regional issues by the US and China). Recent slogans such as “Chimerica” or “Americhina” belong to this thought process and is reflected on joint collaboration on North Korea and Iran. Yet the ground reality is such that the US does not like to give away its supremacy, nor China is willing to be second rate partner in managing global and regional affairs given its economic rise which is translating into diplomatic and strategic weight in the international system. This then is the stalemate each wants to overcome.
Full-length article: http://conexion13.com.ar/web/seccion/internacional/