China & Obama


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This presentation examines Obama's approach to China during his first term in office, defined as the "charm offensive." It also explores the U.S. positions on Tibet and Taiwan.

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China & Obama

  1. 1. Please visit a web site I have developed that aggregates current news and information about China--it is
  2. 2. China & Obama vs Obama & China 你好 2005-06 President American Society for Public Administration Professor Emeritus Northern Illinois University Donald C. Menzel, Ph.D
  3. 3. Issues (many) • Economy & Trade • Environment & Climate Change • Energy • Human Rights – Tibet • Foreign Policy – North Korea – Taiwan – Iran • Military & Nuclear Non-proliferation
  4. 4. Global problems cannot be solved without U.S.-China cooperation. --energy policy, climate change, nuclear proliferation, economic recovery, financial reform, environmental degradation, human rights
  5. 5. What is the Obama strategy for gaining the cooperation of China? • Confrontation? • Competition? • Containment? • Engagement? • Charm? • Give & Get?
  6. 6. The Charm Offensive Year 1
  7. 7. “China is a great power and has a long and extraordinary history.” G-20 Summit, London, April 2, 2009 President Hu Jintao
  8. 8. President Obama “There is much to be gained from a closer working relationship with China. But improved relations with China will require candor, and open discussion about issues where we don’t agree, such as human rights, democracy and free speech, and will require that each of our nations play by the rules in open and honest competition.” – May 16, 2009
  9. 9. Who’s Who? • President Hu Jintao, 2003-2012 Paramount Leader “The socialist harmonious society we want to build should be a society featuring democracy, the rule of law, fairness, justice, sincerity, trustworthiness, amity, full vitality, stability, orderliness, and harmony between mankind and nature.” 2005 speech Hu Jintao was elected president of the People's Republic of China on March 15, 2003. He is now general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, president of the People's Republic of China, chairman of the Central Military Commission. 1942-
  10. 10. Strategic Dialogue • Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton —February 2009 • Secretary of Treasury Timothy F. Geithner —June 2009 • Secretary of Defense Robert Gates MIA • Ambassador Jon Huntsman August 2009 • President Obama visits China Nov 2009
  11. 11. Secretary of State “The opportunity for us to work together are unmatched anywhere in the world. We are truly going to rise or fall together. Our economies are so intertwined.” Hillary Rodham Clinton, February 21, 2009, Beijing
  12. 12. Treasury Secretary “Although the United States and China start from very different positions, many of our domestic challenges are similar. . . Health care . . . Quality education . . . Infrastructure . . . Energy efficiency . . . Climate change . . . Reforming financial systems.” “Global problems will not be solved without U.S.-China cooperation. That goes for the entire range of issues that face our world from economic recovery and financial repair to climate change and energy policy.” Timothy Geithner, June 1, 2009, Peking University
  13. 13. U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman, Jr., 2006, Shanghai Normal University “Whether you recognize it or not, our two countries are poised like never before to shape a better tomorrow. . . we must strengthen our efforts to understand the cultural divide that sometimes stands between us. . . Intends to resign April 30, 2011, to explore a run for the presidency in 2012.
  14. 14. Obama Visits China November 2009 • "We meet here at a time when the relationship between the United States and China has never been more important to our collective future.” – President Obama
  15. 15. What is China’s strategy for dealing with the U.S.? • Confrontation? • Competition? • Charm? • Engagement? • Economic warfare? • Puzzling?
  16. 16. China’s International Behavior • Passive-aggressive? • Rogue economic superpower? • Assertive and erratic? • Responsible?
  17. 17. Obama & China Year 2
  18. 18. “Give and Get?” Dateline 2/5/11 Washington: China’s Currency Avoids Manipulated Ruling Again
  19. 19. Tensions • Relations plunge into a freeze over – Trade tariffs – Subsidizing the production of wind power equipment • Local content issue – Human relations • The Nobel Piece Prize award to Liu Xiaobo • “Washington must cease using human rights as an excuse to meddle in China’s internal affairs.”
  20. 20. Issues • Economy & Trade • Transnational – Tibet – Taiwan – North Korea – Iran • Military
  21. 21. Economy & Trade • Interdependency • U.S.– reduced consumption, more savings • China – increased domestic spending, less savings • Steady and safe Chinese investment in the U.S. The world financial system is out of balance: China has over-saved, America has over-consumed; each country has relied on the other for its own economic security.
  22. 22. Trade—the U.S. imports more than $4 worth of goods from China for every $1 of goods that it exports to China.
  23. 23. Comparing Economies • China -- $5.7 trillion GDP • U.S. -- $14.6 trillion GDP • The Chinese economy will certainly become the largest and most dominant economy in the world! – says who? • Why Hu got the red carpet treatment?
  24. 24. Transnational Issues • Tibet—internal meddling? • Taiwan—Cold War relic? • North Korea—nuclear blackmail?
  25. 25. Tibet
  26. 26. President Obama meets with Dali Lama, February 18, 2010
  27. 27. China Reacts Jon Huntsman, Jr., U.S. Ambassador to China "The US act grossly interfered in China's internal affairs, gravely hurt the Chinese people's national sentiments and seriously damaged the Sino-US ties," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu in a further statement Friday.
  28. 28. Obama & the Dali Lama February 2010 Raising issues that quickly stoked China's ire, Obama used his first presidential meeting with the Dalai Lama to press Beijing, under international criticism for its Tibet policies, to preserve Tibetan identity and respect human rights there. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said the meeting between Obama and the Dalai Lama "violated the U.S. government's repeated acceptance that Tibet is a part of China and it does not support Tibetan independence."
  29. 29. Why does the United States care about Taiwan? Isn’t it one of the most dangerous flash points in the world?
  30. 30. Background • 23 million • 111 miles from China mainland • 1895 Japan colonizes the island • 1931-45 Japan occupies large areas in China • 1945-49 China Civil War • 1949 Chiang Kai-shek and Kuomintang flea to Taiwan
  31. 31. Taiwan Relations Act April 1979 • A watershed for U.S. relations with Taiwan • Calls for peaceful means to determine the future of Taiwan • The U.S. will provide necessary defense services to ensure that Taiwan can maintain “a sufficient self-defense capability.”
  32. 32. Why? • Long standing commitment to the people on Taiwan is critical for continued credibility of U.S. • Growth of democracy—from a one party authoritarian state to a multiparty democracy over the past 20 years • Trade—Taiwan is the U.S. ninth largest trading partner
  33. 33. North Korea Kim Jong-il in 2000 The Supreme Leader
  34. 34. Nukes and N. Korea
  35. 35. China’s Priorities • “For the Chinese, stability and the avoidance of war are the top priorities.” – Daniel Sneider of Stanford’s Asia-Pacific Research Center • Because of the specter of hundreds of thousand of North Korean refugees flooding into China, stability is a huge worry for Beijing.
  36. 36. Escalation • N Korea sinks S Korean ship (March 2010) • N Korea shells S Korean island (Nov 2010) • Obama urges China to check North Koreans • US-S Korea stage military exercises • China moves to curb N Korea’s belligerent behavior
  37. 37. Military-to-Military • Mutually suspicious relations • Badly frayed relations between the two nations’ militaries • US provides arms to Taiwan • Transparency lacking • Modernization
  38. 38. A New Start? • Hu visits the U.S. – Jan. 2011 • “We have a great deal invested in each other’s success.”—Timothy Geithner Jan. 2011
  39. 39. Hu-Obama Summit • Obama gets “a new reputation for toughness in his China policy?” • Hu gets a state visit that portrays China as an equal partner with the U.S. • Both reap domestic political benefits.
  40. 40. Obama & China 2011 • Is Obama projecting “pragmatic steeliness?” • Is he sending unambiguous signals that the West will not be intimidated by Chinese swagger? • Standing up to China? • Is a a new cold war in Asia, with Japan, the US and S Korea on one side and China and the North on the other side, about to start? Mark Landler NYT 12/6/10
  41. 41. Concluding Remarks • The challenge to this generation of leaders is to create a new system of international relations that produces cooperation on the great issues that affect everyone. • China and the U.S. will help define the world’s future.
  42. 42. References • David Leonhardt, “The China Puzzle,” The New York Times Magazine, May 17, 2009. • Wikipedia China_policy • Wikipedia • Wikipedia,_Jr. • Fareed Zakaria, The Post-American World • New York Times, June 24, 2009.
  43. 43. Want to know more about the “new” China? You can find my new multi- touch book “The NEW China” in the iBookstore or the text version at Click on the images below.