United States and China Relations
Christensen, Thomas J., DISAM Journal of International Security Assistance Management
[The following are excerpts of the statement presented to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and the Global Environment Washington, D.C, March 27, 2007.]
President Bush has stated that he welcomes a China that is peaceful and prosperous. He has called for a U.S. and China relationship that is candid, constructive, and cooperative. The relationship as a whole has a solid foundation and has improved in recent years in some key areas of cooperation. That said, we continue to engage China candidly where we have real differences and concerns, including in areas such as human rights, trade, and military affairs. We engage China through a broad array of dialogues. In all of our interactions with China, we seek to further U.S. national interests by encouraging China to adopt measures at home and abroad that will benefit the United States, the international community, and China itself as it seeks long-term, stable development and greater integration into the international economy and multilateral institutions. Rather than trying to contain China, we are trying to help shape its choices as it rises in influence so that China plays a responsible and stabilizing role in the international system. Despite some areas of real friction, U.S. and China relations are far from a zero-sum game, and if we manage the relationship well on both sides of the Pacific, we should be able to keep it that way.
There is little to debate in the proposition that China is a growing power and a leader in the Asia Pacific region with significant influence around the globe. We witnessed China's impact on the international system late last month. A sharp drop in the Shanghai stock market helped set off a wave of stock selling around the world. Fortunately, the global sell-off was a short-term phenomenon, but the Chinese market drop was a factor in triggering it, something hard to imagine just a few years ago. That event reminds us that what now happens in China can affect us and the rest of the world. The stock sell-off in Shanghai should serve as a lesson for China, as well. To ensure continued prosperity, China must continue down the path of reform of its financial and other sectors in its economy, while also embracing change in its society. More broadly, China having integrated into and benefited from the global system must ensure that its actions and its policies are good not just for China, but also for the world community, on which China and economic progress so heavily depends.
After almost thirty years of unprecedented, increasingly market-driven, economic growth, China has become one of the world's largest economies. It is now the world's third-largest trading nation. China has become one of the world's top manufacturers. Its middle class seeks all the material benefits of a modern economy. The flow of its overseas direct investment increased 8 1 percent in 2005 to $7 billion, according to China's Ministry of Commerce.
It is also important, however, to note that China faces enormous challenges at home. In general, it remains a poor country, with per-capita gross domestic product about one twenty-fifth that of the United States. The income gap between rural and urban residents is large and widening, and there is significant social unrest, particularly in semi-rural areas surrounding China's booming industrial centers. By the Chinese government's own count, there were some 87,000 disturbances of public order in China in 2005. Environmental degradation is widespread and has only belatedly emerged as a public issue. More than 300 million Chinese do not have access to clean water. The country lacks an adequate social safety net, amid an aging society. It is deficient in the energy resources and infrastructure it needs to fuel continued economic growth.
China's leaders are struggling to root out systemic corruption. The choices that Chinese leaders make to promote continued …
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Publication information: Article title: United States and China Relations. Contributors: Christensen, Thomas J. - Author. Magazine title: DISAM Journal of International Security Assistance Management. Volume: 29. Issue: 3 Publication date: July 2007. Page number: 86+. © Defense Institute of Security Assistance Management Fall 1997. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.