News / Asia

    Q&A with Nina Hachigian on the US-China Relationship

    U.S. President Barack Obama meets Chinese President Xi Jinping at The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage, California, June 7, 2013.
    U.S. President Barack Obama meets Chinese President Xi Jinping at The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage, California, June 7, 2013.
    The understanding of views, ideas and values from two very different areas of the world has always been essential to building mutual respect, trust, cooperation and peace. As China grows in prominence, its relationship with the United States has gained greater attention. Often we hear and read about this relationship examined from mostly one point of view. Nina Hachigian, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, had a different idea. Contemporaries from the west and China regularly discuss complex issues at conferences and meetings, but rarely share those exchanges in public. Hachigian tells Daybreak Asia host Jim Stevenson about how she invited experts to share their conversations in a book appropriately titled Debating China, The U.S.-China Relationship in Ten Conversations.
     
    STEVENSON:  What were some of the surprises and similarities and differences that you found as you got as you got these viewpoints from opposing sides together?
     
    HACHIGIAN:  A lot of these pairs of experts knew each other from many conferences. That is the interesting thing is that these exchanges happen all the time. It is just that the public never gets to hear them or see them. Some of the conversations are two old colleagues talking together. Some are a little feistier than that. Actually even when some of the people that have known each other for a long time, it can get fairly feisty. All of these people are known quantities in their field. Each and every one has a stellar reputation. So in that sense there was not a big surprise. What is interesting to me is that the attitudes of everybody on both sides were similar in the sense that they really believe deeply in the importance of a constructive relationship between the United States and China. Nevertheless, there was still a lot of distrust that came out in the various essays, and some to a much larger degree than others.
     
    STEVENSON:  As you just look down the list, a topic you would think would create quite a discussion would be Taiwan-Tibet.
     
    HACHIGIAN:  Indeed. Alan Romberg and Jia Qingguo are both terrific scholars and both have decades of experience on the Taiwan issue. We just fundamentally see it differently - China and the United States that is. It was interesting to read their analysis. I guess they agreed on a few points. For example, that part of what the mainland needs to do is make itself and its form of government more attractive to the people who are living in Taiwan and that will help their case (for reunification) in the long run. But it is an area where the Chinese think that arms sales are highly destabilizing whereas the United States thinks that actually they are stabilizing.
     
    STEVENSON:  The discussion of China’s military has always been a rather interesting topic for us.
     
    HACHIGIAN:  This is a chapter where you can see the tension perhaps the most clearly. Chris Twomey of the (U.S.) Naval Postgraduate School and Senior Colonel Xu Hue (National Defense University, China). They have known each other for quite a while. Chris starts the discussion by asking why China has modernized and spending so much money on its military when its environment has gotten more peaceful over the years. Colonel Xu comes back right away asking, well why does the U.S. spend so much more on its military every year since its environment has also become more peaceful in recent years. Colonel Xu makes the point that part of the relationship is mentally constructed as he puts it, that if you want to see a hostile force, you are going to see a hostile force. There is a degree of truth in that. Both militaries have the job of protecting their people and for scanning the horizon for any possible threats. Those who are countering those possible threats in the future are given more budget to work with. And so both militaries are really just doing their jobs, but they both think they are acting defensively and the other side sees their actions as offensive.
     
    STEVENSON:  I understand this book probably will not make its way onto the mainland, but what are you hoping it will do here, at least in the West?
     
    HACHIGIAN:  I would love as many 20-year-olds as possible to read this book. I think it is really great to have this opportunity to read what both sides of the story are. I just think that will much better inform our relationship. It will maybe let people pause and think about how the other side is going to react before we act. I think it is a more rounded way of learning about the relationship. I hope people are able to read it in classrooms everywhere here.

    Listen to Jim Stevenson's interview with Nina Hachigian:
    Q&A with Nina Hachigian on the US-China Relationship
    Q&A with Nina Hachigian on the US-China Relationshipi
    || 0:00:00
    ...    
     
    X

    Jim Stevenson

    For over 35 years, Jim Stevenson has been sharing stories with the world on the radio and internet. From both the field and the studio, Jim enjoys telling about specific events and uncovering the interesting periphery every story possesses. His broadcast career has been balanced between music, news, and sports, always blending the serious with the lighter side.

    You May Like

    US-Russia Tensions Complicate Syria War

    With a shared enemy and opposing allies, Russia and the US are working to avoid confrontation

    Video Re-opening Old Wounds in Beirut's Bullet-riddled Yellow House

    Built in neo-Ottoman style in 1920s, it is set to be re-opened in Sept. as ‘memory museum’ - bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity

    Cambodian-Americans Lobby for Human Rights Resolution

    Resolution condemns all forms of political violence in Cambodia, urges Cambodian government to end human rights violations, calls for respect of press freedom

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora