Better Sino-US cooperation expected: Analysis

08:13, January 04, 2010      

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China-US relations will keep a good momentum in the new year with more cooperation and closer ties over major global issues, Chinese experts said. This is despite media reports that the White House appears close to launching arms sales to Taiwan and setting a date for President Barack Obama to meet the Dalai Lama in early months of this year.

Many analysts agree that the relations between China and the United States have developed well since Obama took office last year, thanks to the frequent high-level official exchanges, the establishment of the Strategic and Economic Dialogue and the building of a positive, cooperative and comprehensive China-US relationship for the 21st century.

"The arms sale to Taiwan and the Tibet issue are the two things that every US administration has to deal with, and the Obama administration is no exception," Zhou Qi, an expert on US politics with Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told China Daily yesterday.

"The Chinese government will maintain its same stand on those issues, strongly opposing the US actions, but I believe the trend for bilateral ties this year is heading for a better direction."

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu expressed China's firm opposition to any US sale of arms to Taiwan last month.

"We urge the US to abide by the principles of the three China-US Joint Communiqus, especially the August 17 Communiqu, to stop arms sales to Taiwan, to take concrete actions to support peaceful development of cross-Straits relations and to safeguard the overall situation of China-US relations," she said.

But Zhou said that the two sides are working hard to improve mutual understanding and try to know each other better so that the bilateral relations will not be deeply affected by some issues like the arms sale.

In the latest China-US Joint Statement, the two sides reiterated their commitment to building a "positive, cooperative and comprehensive" relationship, and will take concrete actions to steadily build a partnership to address common challenges.

Some Chinese experts have more cautious attitudes, saying that China-US relations may face other challenges this year, such as the fear of a "China threat" by some in the United States, uncertainties in US foreign policies, increasing conflicts over global issues between the two countries and US's growing financial protectionism.

"As the US economy is stabilizing, the Obama administration will not need China as much as before to get through the difficulties," Zhang Jiye, a scholar at the Institute of American Studies of China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said in his article at the Chinese-language Global Times recently. But he said the US may increase protectionism against Chinese goods in order to ensure its leading position in the post-crisis era.

The Washington Post reported yesterday that the two countries are "headed for a rough patch" as the Obama Administration is expected to approve a multi-billion-dollar arms sale to Taiwan and Obama plans to meet the Dalai Lama early this year.

The deal will probably include Black Hawk helicopters and anti-missile batteries and possibly a plan that gauges design and manufacturing capacity for diesel-powered submarines.

Obama canceled a meeting with the Dalai Lama during his October visit to Washington one week before his maiden trip to China - becoming the first US president to avoid meeting the Dalai Lama in more than a decade.

The newspaper also said the White House hopes to limit the damage of the two issues.

"The US-China relationship is now far broader and deeper than any one issue alone," Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser told the Post. "We will have disagreements . . . but we have demonstrated that we will work together on critical global and regional issues, such as economic recovery, nuclear proliferation and climate change, because doing so is in our mutual interest."
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