Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Sino-American Relationship by Erick San Juan

The current Sino-American relationship if we are going to base it from what is happening in geopolitics, especially in the Pacific region, there are some flashpoints that can be considered as too complicated and should be handled with caution.

As what Gareth Evans wrote in his article, A new blueprint for US-China relations -    “What makes the Sino-American relationship dangerous is that powerful forces in both countries seem intent on a collision course. On the Chinese side, under Xi Jinping’s assertive leadership, the government is no longer heeding Deng Xiaoping’s injunction that the country should “hide its strength, bide its time, and never take the lead” in international affairs. It has pursued manifestly expansionist territorial claims, most notably in the South China Sea, and shown a clear determination to resist the indefinite continuation of American dominance in the region. The prevailing Chinese mindset is that the US is intent on isolating, containing, and undermining it.”

Yes the assertive leadership of China’s Xi Jinping makes it difficult for other nations in the region not to be nervous in case of a confrontation especially among the claimants in the disputed territories. Tagged as the bully in the region, China’s recent activities in the South China Sea has contributed more tension to the already tensed situation in the area. But this is just one part of the contested area. There are other flashpoints like the one with Japan and also the Taiwan issue that China must address with diplomacy in order to avoid confrontations that might lead to a regional conflict in the process.

From the said article by Evans, he included some salient points from the ‘blueprint’  that will help ease the tension between China and the US. Written by the former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, head of the Asia Society Policy Institute and was released for the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Rudd used the term “constructive realism” which is a clunky label, but his analysis and policy prescriptions are compelling (according to Evans).

The “realist” dimension of Rudd’s argument recognizes that certain areas of disagreement – including Taiwan, territorial disputes in the South and East China Seas, US alliances in Asia, Chinese military modernization, and the legitimacy of China’s political system – will remain intractable for the foreseeable future. They will defy easy solutions – and thus will require very careful management.

The “constructive” part of Rudd’s thesis argues for systematic collaboration – with the US treating China more as an equal – in tackling a series of other difficult issues at bilateral, regional, and global levels. Bilaterally, such cooperation might involve an investment treaty, a joint intelligence task force on terrorism, a cyber-security protocol, agreed measures for managing unplanned military incidents and mutual ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty.

On a regional level, Rudd argues, the US and China could work on joint strategies to denuclearize and, ultimately, reunify the Korean Peninsula; tackle the lingering sore of Japan’s war history; harmonize regional trade agreements; and transform the East Asia Summit into a more complete Asia-Pacific Community.

Globally, Rudd believes that the joint agenda could focus on combating climate change, revitalizing the G-20, further internationalizing the renminbi; giving China a greater role in the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank; and reforming other key international institutions within the UN system.

Methinks that Uncle Sam will never treat China as well its equal. One glaring example is Obama’s pivot to Asia which only shows that Washington's reach is extended to this side of the Pacific, and all its allies here should help in maintaining such status quo.
Economics is another factor where China’s soft power approach towards its neighbors helped in some ways to win the hearts of their leaders. Although Obama’s TPP with all its shortcomings, tried to counter China’s soft power strategy.

With the help of BRICS and the bank they created like AIIB and NDB, that will counter the IMF and World Bank, China will no longer be interested to take part in the said lending institutions. It’s quite obvious that China and the rest of the BRICS wanted to create a multipolar world, giving more room for development to other developing countries which was neglected by the unipolar world wherein a single superpower (the US) has all the means to prosper and using Third World countries as its supplier of raw materials and cheap labor.
Creating a balance in many aspects in the global arena will level the playing field and give chance for all nations to develop so that peace can be attain where hegemony and a unipolar world will only be a thing of the past.

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