Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Rising China to haunt Bush in second term
AFP ^ | Sat Jan 15, 9:57 PM ET

Posted on 01/17/2005 10:17:27 AM PST by jb6

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President George W. Bush (news - web sites) may keep a wary eye on China during his second term in office as the Asian giant musters greater political and economic influence across the globe.

AFP/File Photo

But US reliance on Beijing to keep nuclear-armed North Korea (news - web sites) on a leash and Washington's preoccupation with insurgency-wracked Iraq (news - web sites) may limit any pressure Bush may want to exert on China, especially on human rights and trade issues.

Growing at a rapid pace, China is using its economic clout to expand its political influence in both the East Asian region as well as around the world, including Latin America, Africa, South Asia and Europe, analysts say.

"Bush will have to pay a great deal of attention on China because he owes China on the North Korea issue and because US-China trade relations is enormously important," said David Steinberg, director of Asian studies at Georgetown University.

"But there has been a lack of US policy in relation to Chinese and US roles in Southeast Asia, where the Chinese campaign for influence has been very, very successful," he said.

Some analysts warn that China may seek to push its diplomatic momentum further in the hope that the United States will not be a position to resist it.

One short term problem Bush may have to confront with is Europe's potential lifting of a 15-year arms embargo on China, seen as a landmark development that could change the dynamics of the trans-Atlantic alliance.

"The Chinese have very cleverly discovered an issue that can drive a wedge between the Europeans and Americans and they managed to frame it in a way that the Europeans are inclined to choose China's side," said John Tkacik of the conservative Heritage Foundation.

The United States fears China may use any lifting of the arms embargo -- imposed in the wake of the Tiananmen Square massacre -- to turn the weapons against its own people or Taiwan, which Beijing covets and the United States has pledged to help defend.

The Bush administration has often been accused of not appreciating the gravity of the challenge posed by a rising China.

"The failing of American diplomacy is that the United States does not know how to leverage its economic clout whereas China is an expert on it," Tkacik said.

If Bush is not firm with China, he warned, the US Congress might start looking at ways of exerting American economic leverage on the world's most populous nation.

"Otherwise we are going to find our support from democracies in Asia collapsing under the weight of China's growing political and economic influence," he said.

But Elizabeth Economy, director of Asian studies at the US Council on Foreign Relations, dismissed any notion that China could rapidly assume a leadership role in Asia.

"When you speak to people in the region, they are very keen to keep Japan and the United States and potentially even India around because from their perspective, there is a lot of value to being able to balance the powers and much less interest in having China become a regional hegemon of any sort," she said.

China, too, has to address key issues such as transparency and accountability, intellectual property rights, environmental safety and copyright piracy before it can deepen its influence in the region, she said.

"My question is: can China be an effective regional leader when it itself is by and large the most important source of many of the transnational problems that are plaguing the region."

Economy felt the Bush administration could be tough with Beijing on reigning in North Korea through multilateral talks aimed at de-nuclearizing the Korean peninsula.

"But I don't think you are going to see any new sort of US toughness emerging when it comes to human rights or potentially even trade," she said, citing US preoccupation with Iraq and with the "war on terror."

"There is no sense in raising the China issue to a new level of challenge or threat when we clearly have far more important issues that we have to engage right now," she said.

Among key bilateral problems with China is the burgeoning US trade deficit, which may have hit 150 billion dollars last year or one-fourth the US deficit with all countries.

Washington is also concerned over China's fixed currency peg, which depresses the yuan's value and gives Chinese manufacturers an unfair advantage by making their goods cheaper abroad

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Government
KEYWORDS: bush; china; confrontation; usa

1 posted on 01/17/2005 10:17:31 AM PST by jb6
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: jb6

China is not just a problem for the US. Japan and the EU may face an even more difficult set of problems, because the Chinese are stealing their markets and driving up the cost of their inputs. The US, with it's largely service-based economy will not be hurt as much, and may even benefit due to the cheaper stuff we can buy from China.

2 posted on 01/17/2005 10:24:38 AM PST by Brilliant
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: jb6

"My question is: can China be an effective regional leader when it itself is by and large the most important source of many of the transnational problems that are plaguing the region."

Sure, all it needs is a modernized military and then it can do all the "leading" amongst its neighbors as it wants to.

3 posted on 01/17/2005 10:24:53 AM PST by WmDonovan (
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: WmDonovan

Nope, all the communists have to do is threaten not to buy US debt instruments, and the traitors in Washington will bow and ask whatcanwedoforya?

4 posted on 01/17/2005 11:03:57 AM PST by warchild9
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson