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China, US: partners or global rivals?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Laaska News January 19,2011.

Denisov Igor (VOR)

Jan 18- China’s President Hu Jintao believes that the international currency system, in which the U.S. dollar plays the leading role, is a “survival of times past”. The Chinese leader said as much the day before his visit to the USA, thus, setting a sharp tone for the upcoming talks with Barack Obama.


Barack Obama and Hu Jintao (L-R). Photo: EPA    

The day before the visit, which is due to take place from January 18th to 21st, Hu Jintao criticized the decision of the US Federal Reserve System on the injection of additional 600 billion dollars into the U.S. economy. Some experts believe that this measure will be helpful in lowering the dollar exchange rate, which will give American exporters a powerful advantage but which will damage other countries’ interests.

For its part, the USA has made claims to the Chinese currency policy. Ahead of Hu Jintao’s visit to the USA, the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged China to give a chance to its national currency to stick to the market rate, besides, she urged Beijing to bring to a halt what Washington regarded as discrimination against American companies and urged the China’s leadership to open its markets for imported goods.

“Despite the growing economic interdependence, the relations between China and the USA remain difficult. And it is not only the trade-economic field that matters here. The main thing here is the growing geopolitical might of China and the USA’s reduced potential to put pressure on Beijing,” the Deputy Director of the Institute of Far Eastern Countries of the Russian Academy of Sciences Professor Sergei Luzyanin says. 

And the visit of the U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates to China offers proof of this. China’s testing of the 5th generation fighter jet and China’s other developments are an object of concern for and an irritant to Washington. The financial crisis has revealed new tendencies in the Sino-American relations. During the crisis those in Washington believed that China would start combating the crisis and that it would search for away out like the other liberal economies. China was expected to carry a big negative load but this did not happen.

The USA was surprised at the fact that China had recovered from the crisis with a plus and that using its economic leverage it had begun to spread its influence on the regions, which the USA regarded as the sphere of “Western liberal values”. Quite a number of countries in Western Europe, which have found themselves in a very difficult economic situation today, rely on Beijing’s help – including, among other things, China’s help in the placement of their debt commitments. 

And still, the USA has very effective leverage to put pressure on Beijing. What is meant here is Washington’s military cooperation with Taiwan. This painful issue is expected to feature prominently at the upcoming summit. Before his visit to the USA, China’s President, acknowledging the existing differences and painful issues in relations between China and the USA, stressed that the two sides should, first of all, take into account the vital interests of the two countries’ peoples. Translating from the diplomatic language, this means that in the issues concerning China’s security, Beijing will make no concessions at all. A cool attitude to the idea of G2, or the “global duet”, also confirms that China will not play according to the rules, set by Washington. Taking into account all of the above-mentioned, we can understand perfectly well what Hu Jintao’s criticism of the “dollarization” of the world economy, which he voiced before visiting the USA, was caused by.


Chinese president predicts clash with Obama

Gladkov Vladimir Jan 17 .


Barack Obama and Hu Jintao (L-R). Photo: EPA    

Hu Jintao, the Chinese President, foreshadowed the possibility of a clash with Barack Obama over a number of issues when the two meet at the White House on Wednesday.

Hu arrives in Washington for a four-day visit, during which he will meet with President Obama, top legislators and business executives. The trip will receive the status of a state visit, in contrast to a 2006 meeting with President George W. Bush, which was limited to a lunch. A three-day stay in Washington will be followed by a stop in Chicago. The tour will take place following a year of disputes and tensions between the two states.

China’s ambassador to the US Zhang Yesui already touted the visit as being vital to relations between the Communist state and the democratic power. He stressed the importance of the consolidation of bilateral ties and the continuation of dialog, despite disagreements related to political, economic and cultural differences.  According to a report from Xinhua – China’s official news agency – during the visit “President Hu Jintao is expected to lay out a blueprint for future China-U.S. relations in the new era with American leaders”.

In spite of the hopeful rhetoric of the Chinese side, the White House expresses discontent with recent developments in affairs. On Friday, a US delegation to China returned “highly disappointed” over the lack of progress in negotiating economic deals.  While for the first time in US history Washington admitted the increasing global influence of Beijing, relations grew tense over the last year. This is chiefly attributable to China’s failure to use its influence over North Korea to prevent confrontations with its southern neighbor and Beijing’s currency manipulations.

Additionally, President Hu stated in a rare interview to Western media – the Washington Post – that the US and China should not interfere in each other’s domestic agendas. This statement was certainly aimed at the White House, following an announcement that Barack Obama would raise the issue of China’s poor human rights record. The problem gained more prominence following the decision of the Nobel Prize Committee to award the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiabo. Defending his position, Hu expressed his assurance that China’s economic success of the past three decades is conditioned by its political model.

“The fact that China has enjoyed sustained, rapid economic growth and social stability and harmony proves that China’s political system fits China’s national conditions and meets the requirement of overall economic and social development,” said President Hu. 

Nevertheless, Hu admitted that “there are some differences and sensitive issues between us. We both stand to gain from a sound China-US relationship, and lose from confrontation,” urging the two countries to “respect each other’s choice of development path”.

Agreeing that there must be political reform in China to “meet people’s growing enthusiasm for participating in political affairs”, Hu said: “We will define the institutions, standards and procedures for socialist democracy, expand people’s ordinary participation in political affairs at each level and in every field, mobilise and organise the people as extensively as possible, and strive for continued progress in building socialist political civilisation.”

Adressing the Korean Peninsula issue, Hu insisted that China had “made relentless efforts” to prevent the conflict, which generated positive results. The reaction to the currency claims show even less compromise. Hu said that the international community should now work to “move toward the establishment of a fair, just, inclusive and well-managed international financial order” and “build a new and more equal and balanced global partnership”.

US officials still insist that they don’t see China as a threat to America, but stress that Beijing must realize the responsibility entailed in being a world power.

Embracing the obligations that come with being a 21st-century power will help to realize a future that will give the Chinese people even more, in fact, unimagined opportunities,” said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, “but that means accepting a share of the burden of solving common problems, abiding by and helping to shape a rules-based international order.”



Laaska News.