News / Asia

Suspicions High as US, China Summit Nears

National Security Adviser Tom Donilon speaks during the daily news briefing at the White House in Washington, May 17, 2012.
National Security Adviser Tom Donilon speaks during the daily news briefing at the White House in Washington, May 17, 2012.
William Ide
A top White House official is scheduled to arrive in Beijing this Sunday. His visit comes as concerns about cyber attacks, trade frictions and China’s territorial disputes with Japan test relations between the world’s two largest economies. The visit also comes as President Barack Obama and China’s new leader Xi Jinping prepare to hold their first talks next month in California.
 
When he arrives Sunday, White House National Security Adviser Thomas Donilon will be the fifth high-ranking U.S. official to visit Beijing since Xi  became China’s new leader a little more than two months ago.
 
Political analysts say the visit will largely focus on preparations for an upcoming summit between Obama and Xi in California June 7 and 8. But analysts say it also is likely that Donilon will discuss other issues such as North Korea, cyber security and even China’s territorial disputes with Japan during his meetings.
 
New approach

Shen Dingli, director of Fudan University’s Center for American Studies in Shanghai, said there is much cooperation, confrontation and division in relations between China and the United States. He said the important thing that leaders need to do during the meetings is discuss ways to avoid that confrontation, increase cooperation and keep their differences under control.
 
“In U.S.-China relations there is much cooperation, confrontation and division and it is important to find ways to avoid confrontation, increase cooperation and keep [the two sides’] differences at bay,” Shen said.
 
He added that in contrast to the previous administration of George W. Bush, President Obama’s approach to ties with Beijing has been more confrontational.
 
He said the Obama administration’s decision to sell weapons to Taiwan twice and to meet with Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, twice are just two examples of that.
 
He also noted that so far, Obama has only visited China once since taking office.
 
According to Shen, George W. Bush visited China four times while in office, sold weapons to Taiwan once and visited with the Dalai Lama once.
 
The U.S. stance regarding an ongoing dispute between China and Japan over the ownership of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea also is a point of frustration for Beijing.
 
Cyber security

For its part, the United States has become increasingly vocal in recent months about cyber attacks that appear to be originating in China.  The Pentagon’s annual report on China’s military strength, which was released earlier this month, said the cyber attacks have targeted U.S. defense networks to map vulnerabilities that could be exploited during a crisis. It also said China’s main goal in carrying out the attacks was to steal industrial technology.
 
Xie Tao, a professor at Beijing Foreign Studies University, said that while mutual suspicion is running high now in the relationship, the upcoming meeting could be an opportunity to rebuild trust.
 
“I think Mr. Xi, unlike Hu Jintao, he is a leader of some kind of personality," Xie remarked. "He has his own style. And I think that American media may like that style and President Obama may like Mr. Xi’s personality. It’s important that the two build up a personal rapport.”

The location of the meeting also could help, he added.
 
“I think that maybe staying away from that official place, Washington D.C., and getting away from this major media, the White House correspondents, might be a good thing,” Xie said.
 
White House National Security adviser Donilon arrives for his visit on Sunday and departs next Tuesday.

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs