Archive for the ‘Yang Jiechi’ Category

Under Obama, US-China ties may face shaky start

January 24, 2009

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has said no nation is more important to the United States than China. But ties between the two powers may be off to a rocky start just days into the Obama administration.

In his inaugural address Tuesday, President Barack Obama spoke of how earlier generations of Americans had “faced down fascism and communism.” China’s state broadcaster quickly faded out the audio of its live broadcast, the camera cutting back to a flustered studio anchor.

Then, on Thursday, Obama’s choice to lead the Treasury Department, Timothy Geithner, wrote that Obama believes China is “manipulating” its currency, which American manufacturers say Beijing does to make its goods cheaper for U.S. consumers and American products more expensive in China.

Chinese officials closely follow U.S. political rhetoric and frequently decry what they consider foreign interference in China’s internal affairs. The United States often criticizes China about human rights and trade abuses, but Washington and Beijing find themselves increasingly intertwined in a host of crucial economic, military and diplomatic efforts.

By FOSTER KLUG, Associated Press Writer

State media in China reported Saturday that a deputy governor of China’s central bank dismissed Geithner’s comment. Su Ning was cited as saying by the official Xinhua News Agency that the remarks were “not in line with the facts.”

“We thought in the face of the financial crisis, there would be a spirit of self-criticism beneficial to finding ways of resolving the issue and overcoming the crisis,” Su said, adding that it was imperative to avoid any excuses to encourage trade protectionism.

Earlier, China’s foreign minister, Yang Jiechi, said Beijing was committed to working with the Obama administration to strengthen ties and cooperation.

Selig Harrison, director of the Asia program at the U.S.-based Center for International Policy, said it was “very ill-advised for the new administration to confront China as if this were 10 years ago and we were in a strong financial position internationally.”

“We are dependent on Chinese goodwill for our economic survival and viability, and, therefore, it seems to me that this type of posture is very risky,” he said.

Despite an early face-off with China over an intercepted U.S. spy plane, former President George W. Bush made it a priority to strengthen relations with China while also pushing the country to live up to what he considered its duties as an emerging global superpower and a veto-holding member of the U.N. Security Council.

Trade ties between the United States and China often are tense. China says it has made progress on currency changes and worries about bills introduced in Congress that would impose economic sanctions on China unless it moves more quickly to let its currency rise in value against the dollar.

Although Geithner said China is “manipulating its currency,” he suggested Thursday that now might not be the right time to brand Beijing as a currency manipulator under U.S. trade law, which could lead to U.S. trade penalties against imports from China.

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China’s Offer As Peacemaker Between Pakistan, India Rejected

December 30, 2008

China, a longtime adversary of India, tried in vain to become an “honest broker”  between India and Pakistan in the wake of the Mumbai terror massacre.  But predictably, India rejected the notion….


China’s aim of playing some kind of an “honest broker” between India and Pakistan did not end up as it had imagined.

Although Pakistan welcomed Chinese special envoy He Yafei with open arms on Monday, India  developed some last-minute hearing disability that prevented him from visiting Delhi. It left China with a mission incomplete, but a message from India that cannot be ignored.

By The Times of India

According to reports from Pakistan, the Chinese envoy met the top leadership in Islamabad and told them to “de-escalate” tensions with India. He also said a conflict would only strengthen the hands of terrorists. China, he said, was “deeply worried about the resurfacing of tensions in South Asia.”   

Over the weekend, during a phone call made by China’s foreign minister Yang Jiechi to Pranab Mukherjee, he suggested that resuming talks with Pakistan could be constructive. Mukherjee, already on a short fuse, rejected any such suggestion. But Pakistan picked up on it and its foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Tuesday repeated the call for resumption of talks.

The official Chinese version of the phone conversation said, “China hopes that India and Pakistan, both important neighbours of China, would bear in mind regional peace and stability, properly handle related issues through dialogue and consultations, and continue to improve their relations and to push forward the peace process between the two countries.”

India’s discomfort with such do-good missions is well known and China certainly is no stranger to it. But clearly, China wanted to get a foot into the cauldron here, thereby achieving a couple of key objectives, said sources. First, to acquire a status of the regional big brother, keeping squabbling countries at peace, and second, to keep India in “its place” – the South Asian box.

India has tried hard to widen the terrorism debate after the Mumbai attacks beyond Pakistan, but without much success. Part of the reason is the history of the region and partly because Pakistan wants to keep it to the bilateral dynamic. In this, Pakistan is helped along by China.

China had put a “technical hold” on the ban of the JuD in the UN Security Council and only relaxed it after the Mumbai attacks made it impossible to keep on with it.