Strained Relations Between USA and China

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According to the reports of the U.S. and Chinese media, a top-level U.S. delegation has arrived in Beijing. The main objective here is to try to settle thorny issues, which have become visible in recent times in the relations between the two countries.

The level of the U.S. administration delegation is high.  It includes an adviser to the U.S. President and the U.S. Undersecretary of State. They were instructed to discuss with their Chinese colleagues essential differences, which emerged between the two countries practically in all spheres of bilateral relations. Since what is meant here are the world’s two leading states, let’s analyze them in detail.

So let’s begin with the military field, which is very important. The differences between the USA and China have gone so far that some time ago Beijing announced that all contacts with Washington in this field would be stopped. The reason is the U.S. administration’s plan to supply Taiwan with new types of armaments to the tune of 6.5 billion dollars. China has already started fulfilling its decision. It has cancelled the planned visits to Washington by two of its delegations and said that the arrival in Beijing of an American general would be of no good. The visit to China by Pentagon’s Chief Robert Gates, which was set for the first half of this year, is also put in question. Besides, the bilateral consultations on strategic security were also delayed on Beijing’s initiative.

And now a few words about the trade relations between the two countries. They are also difficult enough. The two sides do not stop to accuse each other of protectionism and, as a result, introduce sanctions against each other, be that the supplies of the Chinese tyres for cars to the USA or the U.S. poultry to China.  And these are not all the goods that are under sanctions. It would be good to mention here that Beijing is one of America’s main creditors. Besides, China has recovered from the world financial crisis with fewer losses too. Therefore, China’s positions today are as strong as never before. The White House understands this perfectly well and pays paramount attention to Washington’s relations with Beijing. And U.S. President Barack Obama does not stop to mention this at every opportune moment.

This is all true. Only close cooperation is yet to be achieved.

Washington and Beijing have many political differences too. For the time being, the most visible are the following.  China was very much irritated to learn that in the middle of February the U.S. President received Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama in the White House. As is known, Beijing does not recognize him, believing that he seeks to tear away Tibet from China. And perhaps, the two countries’ positions on Iran are the main stumbling stone today.

To be more exact, the difference in their positions.

For the time being, Beijing is strongly opposed to the introduction of tough international sanctions against Tehran because of its nuclear programme.

Just like Russia, China believes that it is possible to settle the situation by means of talks, while Washington is pressing for sanctions. But it understands perfectly well that only the UN Security Council can introduce such sanctions by a unanimous decision. And China, as a permanent member of the Security Council, has a veto right, which the USA is unable to bypass. All the above-mentioned problems will probably be discussed at the talks in Beijing. So the participants will have hard work to do. But it’s still rather doubtful whether they will be able to resolve all differences in the relations between the USA and China.  

Articles by: Andrei Ptashnikov

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