News / Asia

US National Security Advisor to Meet With Chinese Officials

FILE - National Security Adviser Susan Rice listens to reporters questions during a briefing at the White House.
FILE - National Security Adviser Susan Rice listens to reporters questions during a briefing at the White House.
Shannon Van Sant

U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice arrives in Beijing Sunday for several days of meetings with top officials. She also will lay the groundwork for an upcoming summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Barack Obama in November.

In her first trip to China as National Security Advisor, Susan Rice will meet with Yang Jiechi, China’s top foreign policy advisor. 

Her discussions are part of preparations for November’s Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, when President Obama will meet with Chinese leaders in Beijing.

This week the White House said Rice will also underscore the U.S. commitment to building a productive relationship between the two countries.

Wang Dong, a Professor of International Relations at China’s Peking University, said the Beijing visit will provide an opportunity for Obama and Xi to build on their talks held in Sunnylands, California, in June of last year.     

“I would say this is a very important opportunity for the two presidents to continue their conversation,” said Wang.

Obama and Xi are also likely to meet in the United Nations in New York in late September, if Xi decides to attend the U.N. General Assembly meetings. Rice’s Beijing visit will help smooth the way for meetings, as Sino-U.S. relations have been plagued by rising tensions over the last few months, the countries clashing on issues from cyber hacking to human rights and Beijing’s establishment of an Air Defense Identification Zone, or ADIZ, in the East China Sea. 

“The controversy over China’s establishment of the ADIZ last November and also the tensions between China and Japan dispute over the Diaoyu islands, which involves the U.S. due to its treaty obligations,” said Wang, citing causes of tension in the relationship. 

China’s territorial disputes with its Asian neighbors in the South China Seas and last month’s dangerous interception of a U.S. military plane by a Chinese fighter jet have also tested ties between the two countries.   

Also on Rice’s agenda will be the political situation in Hong Kong, where citizens are demanding open and direct elections of the city’s chief executive. China has said eligible candidates for the position will be selected by a committee, and then voted on by the public. Democracy activists say this will ensure that only candidates acceptable to Beijing are deemed eligible, effectively ruling out pro-democracy candidates. 

Wang said all of these issues are testing the boundaries of relations between the two countries. 

“The conversation has to be continued and carried on at the highest levels of leaderships on both sides. Because the kinds of questions both presidents touch upon are actually fundamental questions on both sides for peace and stability in the region. Namely, ‘how are we going to redefine the relationship between a rising power and a dominant power?” said Wang.

China will host the APEC summit on November 10 and 11 in Beijing. The government leaders of the 21 APEC member countries will attend; China has also extended in invitations to the leaders of India and Mongolia. 

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Comment Sorting
by: Frankie Fook-lun Leung from: Los Angeles
September 05, 2014 1:05 PM
A National Security Advisor is not as powerful as the Secretary of State. Appointment of Secretary needs Congressional approval. Secondly, the Department of State has a whole bureaucracy supporting it. The Secretary can talk to other Secretaries as equal. The National Security Advisor talks to the President but for the others, they need not listen to her at all.

by: Frankie Fook-lun Leung from: los Angeles
September 05, 2014 1:02 PM
In any kind of country-to-country negotiation, the style of negotiation of the representative cannot over-ride the objectives of country she represents. She has a crowded agenda. Hence, she is only expected to achieved limited results for a few of these items. She does not go to Beijing to buy antiques for her living room. She represents her country.

by: nvtncs from: indiana
September 05, 2014 11:27 AM
A word with Susan Rice, Dealing with the Chinese is always very tough. They are supremely practical and their bottom line is quickly reached, after the usual niceties, that bottom line is: what's in it for me. There is no romanticism, no feeling, no empathy, no nothing.

Yet, at the same time, they are very prickly about protocol, and want to be treated with the utmost respect as equals. Approach them not with a Westerner mind, please bring an ABC fluent in Mandarin adviser with you. I believe there is a Chinese American lady whose name escapes me at the moment.

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