It is impossible in today’s sphere of international relations to discuss top world players without touching upon the dichotomy of US-China ties. In less than 20 years, a transformation has taken place in the world order as China has surpassed numerous nations in reaching an economic prosperity typically only held by Western nations. In the financial and political realms, this rising star of a nation has exceeded all expectations and is now seen as an extremely viable player on the international stage.
Political scientists and economists have closely studied China’s rise to economic power and have written numerous articles and papers stating their concern. Many believe that the global unipolar system that so dominates the free world today will soon be challenged by China, thus causing an unstable see-saw of power that hasn’t been experienced since the Cold War. However, though we are seeing the accession of a legitimate superpower, what many of these scientists fail to take into account is that, unlike the Soviet-American relations of the 20th century, China and the United States are very heavily dependent on each other in the economic, political, (and to some extent) social spheres. As such, both countries have expressed the necessity of engaging in an open and positive stream of dialogue allowing for Sino-American relations to enjoy a never before seen exchange of transparency.
U.S. President Obama and China President Hu Jintao may not consider their two countries allies, but over the course of the last four years, a true spirit of cooperation has taken place between Washington and Beijing. Great strides have been taken to ensure a mutual sense of communication is met in a key number of issues. One such area of talk has been that of climate change between the world’s two top producers of greenhouse gas emissions. The US Department of Energy and Commerce, the Council on Foreign Affairs and various NGOs such as Greenpeace have met with Chinese officials in order to push towards a more green and environmentally viable planet. As such, the green energy sector in China has skyrocketed and is becoming a very influential player in climate change policy. This would never have taken place had the country retained its sense of isolationism.
Created in 2009 by the Obama and Hu Jintao administrations, the U.S.BeijingChina Strategic and Economic Dialogue has served as medium for high level talks on a wide range of issues involving politics, fiscal policies, strategic stratagems, and security. This has allowed for the creation of an annual meeting of the two delegations, even furthering the level of colloquy needed for cooperation. Shown as a successful example of modern day statesmanship, this summit regularly attracts top officials such as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan.
Possessing the globe’s two largest active militaries has also created a very interesting nexus in Sino-American relations. China has actively sought to create genial ties with U.S. Department Defense, stressing the need for the U.S. to retain a neutral position in the Asia-Pacific region. In this past week, high ranking officers of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army made the trek to Washington in prompting a call for the two nations to work together in “constructing a new type of relationship between big powers, on the basis of mutual respect, equality, inclusiveness and win-win.” In furthering their discourse in these key areas, the officials also visited military bases in Texas, Missouri, Hawaii, and held talks with experts at think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies in the Capitol.
In what is heralded as a very surprising and uncharacteristic move by the Eastern nation, a number of China state-owned enterprises (SOEs) have made a trip this summer to various U.S. institutions and organizations to receive talks and workshops geared towards public relations, media, and access to information. As more and more of these government sponsored companies take pronounced steps in making an impact on the global market, they have realized that it will greatly benefit them to build an image of public trust and a basis of transparency in the U.S. while concurrently learning about Western cultures and practices. In a nation so known for its media censorship, this only helps to show that China is making forward progress in opening itself up towards the West even further.
Despite the negative press that China often receives here in the West, it’s necessary to do some research and understand that the Eastern nation is actually making strides towards extending an open engagement of collaboration. As stated before, Sino-American relations is not merely a matter of allies or enemies, it is a mutual understanding between two countries in realizing that working together actually leads to a greater win-win situation for both. So next time the media is saturated with news about the next world takeover, remember that we must look instead towards to the positive endeavors that are leading to a more globalized planet.
By Kirk Robinson