Tensions Mount As US and China Prepare For High-Level Meeting
Ongoing Tensions As China And The US Prepare For Talks
Prior to President Barack Obama’s scheduled meeting with Chinese officials this Friday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel joined with Japan to state the nations would act “against any coercive attempts to alter the status quo” with regard to territories in the East China Sea.
Their statement resulted in China restating its determination to continue maritime patrols of the waters and to resist any attempts to arbitrate territorial disputes with Japan. The loggerheads reflects the tense relationship between the two superpowers, a relationship which Daniel Wagner of the Huffington Post says is entering a “period of confrontation unlike any in recent history.”
Part of the changing dynamic is a result of China’s growing economic power and its willingness to step beyond its borders engaging in foreign investment and establishing trade agreements more so than it has in the past.
“With China having become the world’s second largest economy, with the yuan fast becoming a currency of choice in global trade, and with China nipping at the heels of the U.S. economically, politically, and militarily, it is hard to imagine the two countries becoming more collaborative,” he asserts.
Goal Is To Establish Open Dialogue, Not Produce Firm Agreements
The meeting, says Kenneth G. Lieberthal of the Brookings Institution, is not designed to produce tangible agreements, rather its goal is to provide a platform for a more open discussions of a variety of topics.
“It will be a very important conclave if it simply produces better personal understanding and chemistry and also points the way toward progress along lines discussed above,” contends Lieberthal, who also states that neither the US, nor China “has full confidence in the long term intentions of the other.” Therefore, it would be “very significant” if the talks are able to serve as a “venue for a more strategic discussion of the future of U.S.-China relations.”
China Continues To Pursue Military Buildup
Adding to the import of keeping an open dialogue with China, however tense, is that the Communist nation is not shying away from building up its military, including its nuclear weapons program.
Of the five legally recognized nuclear weapon states —China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States— that are either deploying new nuclear weapon delivery systems or have announced programs to do so, only China seems to be expanding its nuclear arsenal, says a recent-released report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
Finally, it is not lost on human rights activists that the meeting comes almost 25 years after China cracked down on protesters in Tiananmen Square.