Just days before the 60th anniversary of the People's Republic of
China, a senior State Department official has called on the Beijing
government to reassure the United States and other countries of its
peaceful and constructive intentions as its military continues to grow
and it plays a greater role in world affairs.
Deputy Secretary of State James
Steinberg says the United States is eager to continue to work with
China to address a variety of global and regional issues, including
those where the two countries disagree. But he told a conference
sponsored by the Center for a New American Security that China's "size and
importance" create a "risk of competition and rivalry that can thwart"
Steinberg says what is needed is what he calls
reassurance rests on a core, if tacit, bargain. Just as we and our
allies must make clear that we are prepared to welcome China's arrival
as a prosperous and successful power, China must reassure the rest of
the world that its development and growing global role will not come at
the expense of security and well-being of others. Bolstering that
bargain must be a priority in the U.S.-China relationship," Steinberg said.
He notes that the United States and China have recently raised the level
of their Strategic and Economic Dialogue process. He said other
aspects of reassurance involve greater transparency about China's
military spending and intentions, and actions on both sides to
demonstrate a willingness to cooperate. He said that would include
making military exchanges permanent, and not subject to interruption by
incidents at sea or U.S. arms sales to Taiwan.
He also said
China's relationships with rogue regimes and disregard for human rights
at home and abroad make other countries concerned about China's
intentions. The deputy secretary of state said transparency and
cooperation are particularly important in three areas.
risks of mistrust are especially acute in the arena of strategic
nuclear weapons, space, and increasingly in the cyber realm. Achieving
mutual reassurance in these areas is challenging, but, as we learned
during the Cold War, essential to avoiding potentially catastrophic
rivalry and misunderstanding. Both sides need to devote creating
thinking into how we might address these thorny challenges," said Steinberg.
He also noted the potential for competition between the United States and
China for natural resources. He criticized China for trying to
monopolize resources in some areas, and called on its leaders to work
within the world market system.
He said the United States is
open to China's rise, but China must provide the world with clear
reassurance about its intentions.