China visit to open new front for Sino-US ties
The United States will open a new diplomatic front with China in the coming two-day visit of a US delegation next month in Beijing, recognizing China as its important partner and seeking to establish closer ties from all aspects, reported the Los Angeles Times on Monday.
The United States delegation, led by Deputy Secretary of State Robert B. Zoellick, will meet the Chinese officials next month. The new dialogue will focus on building a closer tie with the rising China in a larger framework instead of just focusing on specific economic, political and security issues. It has been seen as the Washington's recognition of China's growing importance.
"We want to try to get people to look across issues and see their interrelations - whether its foreign and security policy or economic, trade, finance or energy," Deputy Secretary of State Robert B. Zoellick told the Los Angeles Times.
Senior State Department officials also recognized Sino-U.S. tie as one of the Washington's most challenging international relationships. They said they hoped the new dialogue would develop into a deeper level of engagement with more conversation than negotiation to build trust and offer a chance to study the broader implications of specific issues.
The new conversation implied that the U.S realized the need for a better relationship with China, which grew rapidly especially in the past four years, after the Sept. 11 attack and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
However, the picture is totally different in Congress. China's expanding economic and military power, growing trade surplus with the U.S trigger an anti-China sentiment among the congressmen. Some lawmakers think that instead of building a closer tie, the U.S. should start to confront China
"The general feeling is we're headed into a rough patch," said Nancy Bernkopf Tucker, a China scholar at Georgetown University.
Zoellick, who was working as the U.S. trade representative during President Bush's first term, will lead the delegation visit Beijing and meet the China's delegation represented by Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo next month. The talk is expected to focus on establishing a new diplomatic process.
Some foreign affairs specialists believed that the Sino-China relationship
was more critical in the long run than Middle East despite its immediate danger
of terrorism. It is because few events carry more danger to an existing world
order than the emergence of a major new power, as history proved with the rise
of Germany and Japan in the last century.
Some experts outside the administration described the new talk as a positive
Despite of all these positive gesture toward China, the emotion toward Beijing has been complicated and even contradictory.
On one hand, China has been helping to lower the U.S. budget deficit by buying their treasury bills and China's cheap imported goods are welcomed by many American. On the other hand, the ever-expanding military buildup and global reach has upset Defense Department and the CIA, who see these as most serious potential threats to the U.S.' security.
"You talk to the Pentagon and the Treasury about China, and it's like they
have two different countries in mind," said Pei Minxin, an expert on the
Sino-U.S. relationship at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in
The Sino-US relationship has been changing over the years from "strategic partner" during Clinton's administration to "strategic competitor" in Bush's term. Bush later declared the relationship too complicated for a shorthand label, a stance still being used by the administration.
Some official showed their positive stance toward China. Christopher Hill, the assistant secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific affairs, welcomed the rise of a confident, peaceful and prosperous China while senior State Department Asia specialist Evans J.R. Revere said the U.S had never set policy to restrict or contain China.
Economically, the tension between the two is continuous. Bills restricting China trade in the U.S. is still on going. A punitive 27.5 percent tariffs is going to impose on Beijing if China does not immediately revaluate Chinese yuan, claiming the existing trade as unfair. Last month, the China National Offshore Oil Co.'s announced $18.5-billion takeover bid for California-based Unocal, an act viewed as a threat to the United States' national security further tightening the tensions between the two powers.
Some viewed China as serious danger to the U.S.
Derek Mitchell, a former Defense Department East Asia specialist now at the
Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, suggested the
importance of building stronger mutual confidence in the aspects of security,
energy, infectious diseases, terrorism, etc.