News / Asia

US-China Relations Turbulent in 2010

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and China's Vice Premier Wang Qishan attend a joint news conference for the US-China Strategic Economic Dialogue at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, May 25, 2010 (file photo)
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and China's Vice Premier Wang Qishan attend a joint news conference for the US-China Strategic Economic Dialogue at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, May 25, 2010 (file photo)

Multimedia

William Ide

U.S - China relations faced a wide range of challenges in 2010 as ties between the world's two biggest economies were tested more broadly than ever before.  Regional experts say that managing one of the world's most important relationships is getting tougher and that the trend will likely continue.

2010 began with a downturn in U.S.-China relations.  Beijing cut military ties with Washington, following a U.S. arms deal with Taiwan and the Internet search firm Google announced that it was the target of a sophisticated cyber attack that originated in China.

In February, U.S. President Barrack Obama met with Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, despite strong protests from Beijing.  That raised questions about whether Chinese President Hu Jintao would attend Mr. Obama's Nuclear Security Summit in April.  But in the end, Mr. Hu attended.

Relations between the two countries are increasingly intertwined, complex and far reaching.  Cheng Li of the Brookings Institution here in Washington, calls U.S.-China relations "a paradox."  

"It is a paradox of hope and fear; it is a paradox of progress and tremendous problems, a paradox of confidence and possible disaster," Cheng Li said.

Although the two nations found ways to cooperate in 2010 on alternative energy, they clashed over the value of China's currency and other trade issues.

Bonnie Glaser with the Center for Strategic and International Studies here in Washington says it was difficult for the United States and China to find ways to cooperate.  It was a year, she notes, replete with incidents that caused friction between the two countries.  

"I think that both sides have found it very difficult to manage the relationship and really keep the tone positive," Glaser said. "And with Hu Jintao's visit coming up in January [2011], [it] really raises a big challenge for both countries.  What is the positive story that we can now tell about this relationship?  What are the issues that we can cooperate on?"  

Glaser says tensions on the Korean peninsula, and finding a way to deal with North Korea and its provocative actions during the past year is an example of that lack of cooperation between China and the United States.  

"Ever since the sinking of the Cheonan, the South Korean vessel in March, China's unwillingness to point a finger at the North Korea, to condemn North Korea as the provocateur; it's unwillingness in the U.N. Security Council to name North Korea,I think that was a negative story for the U.S.-China relationship," Glaser said.

The South China Sea, an area China claims as its own, was another point of contention.  The United States offered to facilitate territorial disputes between China and its Southeast Asian neighbors.  China rejected the offer.

One month later, Beijing announced it had sent a manned submarine to the bottom of the South China Sea and planted a Chinese flag.

Glaser says it served as a reminder of China's growing military status and as a subtle message to countries that also have claims in region.  

"The fact that the Chinese have the capability to do that is a signal to their neighbors that they are far more advanced than all of the other claimants and that, therefore, other countries should take that power imbalance into account when they talk with the Chinese about these issues," Glaser said. "

Largely unaffected by the global financial crisis, China has becoming more assertive about its global intentions, raising concerns internationally.

According to Cheng Li of the Brookings Institution says China and the United States are on a dangerous course.  

"When you think China's threat is real and then it becomes real.  At the same time, if you think U.S. policy is anti-China, [that the United States] wants to contain China, sooner or later you will want to reinforce that kind of thing," Cheng Li said. "It will become real.  So that is a danger.  And that danger certainly escalated in a fast way in 2010.  I think the outside world needs to come to terms with China's rise because the era of China serving as a student to be lectured by the West, is coming to and end."  

Analysts note that as China's global influence grows, so does its responsibilities as a player on the world's stage.

Sophie Richardson is the Asia Advocacy Director for Human Rights Watch in Washington.

"The kind of progress that we have seen in China, infrastructure, economic, and to some extent social freedom, many of these are remarkable, and they are a clear choice on the part of the Chinese government," she said. "But there hasn't been a commensurate increase in basic civil and political rights.  And that too is a very clear choice."

Analysts note that as China's economic and political power increase, so, too, do expectations of the country, at  home and abroad.  That leaves Beijing with a choice, analysts say, to meet those expectations or to ignore them.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year More

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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid