Archive for Foreign Affairs and U.S.ForeignPolicy

Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken, United States Ambassador to China Max Baucus, Press Roundtable, Lost Heaven Restaurant, Beijing, China | U.S. Embassy & Consulates in China

“Press: I have three questions.  The first is, the Obama administration has continued saying that the United States, not China which is not a party to the TPP, will write the rules of the global economy — for Beijing and other countries too.  So, is the conclusion of the TPP intended to encircle and contain China?  And is it part of the U.S. pivot to Asia strategy?

And the second question is, what is your comment on the outcomes of the Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to the U.S., and what’s your comment on the biggest achievement of his visit?  And what’s your comment on the future of the China-U.S. relationship?

Deputy Secretary Blinken: Thank you very much.

Press: And my third question is, you know China is taking a more active role in global affairs, such as setting up the AIIB and the proposal of the One Belt, One Road initiative.  I’d like to know what’s the U.S. attitude towards that?

Deputy Secretary Blinken: Thank you very much.  A lot of good questions there.

First, with regard to TPP.  It’s very simple.  It is not designed to contain China or encircle China in any fashion.  To the contrary, we would welcome China’s participation in TPP if it is willing to meet the standards that are established in the agreement.  And TPP offers I think tremendous potential to further expand trade and investment and that, in turn, can fuel growth, which fuels jobs, and it will be very good for the countries involved.  But it’s doing it in a way that meets the highest standards when it comes to protecting workers, protecting the environment, protecting intellectual property, having transparency.  In other words, it’s what we would call a race to the top, not a race to the bottom.

And any countries in the region that want to be a part of it and are able to meet these standards would be welcome, and certainly  if China decides that it’s interested in TPP, we would welcome that, and we would certainly pursue those conversations.

More broadly, I have to say that I know that there are people who think that our policies somehow are to contain or hold back China, and I must tell you it’s exactly the contrary.  We have a profound stake in a successful, prosperous China.  And not only from an economic perspective because we’re so connected and we want China and, indeed we need China, to succeed.  But it also makes sense for the United States to enlist China to play a role in the world commensurate with its significant power and influence because there are too many problems and challenges for any one country to tackle alone, and the United States and China have demonstrated that when they work together they can lead the world in a positive direction.

The best example of that recently is climate change.  So that’s our general approach.

When it comes to outcomes of President Xi’s visit, again I would say that what we’ve seen the visit underscore was what we’ve been trying to do together which is deepen and broaden our cooperation.  So, if you look at what we’ve done just in the last year, some of which came to fruition during the visit.  As I said, leading together on climate change, and during the visit we advanced that effort as well.  The work that we are doing together for example in Afghanistan, where the United States and China together are trying to play a role in advancing reconciliation in Afghanistan, training Afghan diplomats together.  We’re doing a lot.

We’ve worked together to fight the scourge of Ebola.  That’s significant.  We were partners in the effort to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon and the agreement that resulted from there.  And all of those things I think were underscored during the visit.  We’re working on a bilateral investment treaty that can be very significant.

So, I think the visit highlighted those areas of cooperation and others that demonstrate to our own citizens, to Chinese citizens, and people around the world that when we work together in a cooperative way we can produce results.”

Source: Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken, United States Ambassador to China Max Baucus, Press Roundtable, Lost Heaven Restaurant, Beijing, China | U.S. Embassy & Consulates in China

David Lindsay: Tony Blinken keeps repeating the same good talking points on the TPP, without explaining how any one them might actually work. This PR is not that impressive, unless, it was all too new what would work and what wouldn’t.

Posted in: China, David Lindsay, Foreign Affairs and U.S.ForeignPolicy

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‘Trump Is Better’: In Asia, Pro-Democracy Forces Worry About Biden – By Hannah Beech – The New York Times

Antony Blinken, President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s pick for secretary of state, shown last week. Mr. Biden is aiming for a return to international diplomatic norms.
Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

“BANGKOK — A dissident once branded Enemy No. 1 by the Chinese Communist Party is spreading conspiracy theories about vote-rigging in the American presidential election.

Pro-democracy campaigners from Hong Kong are championing President Trump’s claims of an electoral victory.

Human rights activists and religious leaders in Vietnam and Myanmar are expressing reservations about President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s ability to keep authoritarians in check.

It might seem counterintuitive that Asian defenders of democracy are among the most ardent supporters of Mr. Trump, who has declared his friendship with Xi Jinping of China and Kim Jong-un of North Korea. But it is precisely Mr. Trump’s willingness to flout diplomatic protocol, abandon international accords and keep his opponents off-balance that have earned him plaudits as a leader strong enough to stand up to dictators and defend democratic ideals.

Source: ‘Trump Is Better’: In Asia, Pro-Democracy Forces Worry About Biden – The New York Times

David Lindsay:

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
Thank you Hannah Beech, for a fascinating report. It is most interesting to hear how fake news and conspiracy theories promulgated by Asian and Russian? sources have polluted the view of countless dissidents into thinking Biden might be much worse than Trump. I hope you revisit this topic every quarter, since after each quarter that Biden runs the government, it might leak out that he is competent, fair and serious. I believe that a bell weather sign for China, will be the success of rejoining the TPP, the Trans Pacific Partnership, which is now expected. It will help organize a framework for containing bad Chinese behavior, 20 times better than any silly tariff Trump has put on the backs of the American consumer.
David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth Century Vietnam” and blogs about the environment and the world at InconvenientNews.net.

Posted in: David Lindsay, East Asia, Foreign Affairs and U.S.ForeignPolicy

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After Trump, Biden Faces Pressure to Stand Up to China by Embracing Taiwan – The New.S York Times

“TAIPEI, Taiwan — President Trump has made cultivating closer ties with Taiwan a critical part of his efforts to counter China’s rising influence. He has significantly increased weapons sales to Taiwan’s military, vowed to step up economic cooperation, and generally bolstered relations with the self-ruled democratic island — even in his waning days.

His successor, President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., will most likely continue on a similar path, albeit without Mr. Trump’s characteristic pugnacity.

As concerns grow about China’s increasingly aggressive behavior on the global stage, Mr. Biden will face pressure from Democrats and Republicans to strengthen ties with Taiwan, which Beijing considers part of its territory.

While Mr. Biden said little about Taiwan on the campaign trail, he has said the United States should get “tough with China” and described its top leader, Xi Jinping, as a “thug.” His transition team has already reached out to Taiwanese officials.”

Source: After Trump, Biden Faces Pressure to Stand Up to China by Embracing Taiwan – The New York Times

Posted in: China, Foreign Affairs and U.S.ForeignPolicy

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Opinion | The Two China Fires – by Bret Stephens – The New York Times

“. . .  What stands out now is just how brazen Beijing has become. Take one detail from Wray’s speech: “We have now reached the point where the F.B.I. is opening a new China-related counterintelligence case about every 10 hours,” he said. In one case, a single scientist, Hongjin Tan, pleaded guilty to stealing an estimated $1 billion in trade secrets from an Oklahoma-based energy company.

But this brings us to the second blunt fact. U.S. power in East Asia is waning. Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership — the single best hedge the U.S. had against Chinese economic dominance of the region — may, in hindsight, prove to be his single worst policy mistake. He has tried to shake down both South Korea and Japan to pay more for basing U.S. forces: penny ante politics that only raise doubts about America’s reliability as an ally.

And then there’s the degraded state of the U.S. Navy, epitomized by the fire on the Bonhomme Richard (itself the latest in a string of corruption, leadership, cost over-run and competency scandals to bedevil the service). Trump came to office with grand plans to build a 355-ship Navy, up from the current 300. The Pentagon all but admits it has no hope of reaching that goal. Meanwhile, the Chinese Navy — which isn’t stretched around the world — has 335 ships, a 55 percent increase in 15 years,

If the U.S. and the People’s Republic were to come to blows after some incident over some atoll in the South China Sea, are we confident we’d prevail?

When (fingers crossed) Joe Biden is president, he needn’t ask his cabinet members to deliver philippics against Beijing. But, as George Kennan once wrote about another regime, he must be prepared to confront China with “unalterable counter force at every point where they show signs of encroaching upon the interests of a peaceful and stable world.” “

Source: Opinion | The Two China Fires – The New York Times

Posted in: China, Foreign Affairs and U.S.ForeignPolicy

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Opinion | China and America Are Heading Toward Divorce – by Thomas Friedman – The New York Times

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“. . . .  But both sides are not equally to blame. The Xi era in U.S.-China relations, which began in 2012, has led the relationship steadily downhill. China went too far on a broad range of issues.

Start with business. For many years U.S. companies thought they had enough market share inside China that they would tolerate the stealing of intellectual property and other trade abuses China engaged in. But in the last decade, China started to overreach, and the American Chamber of Commerce in China began to complain louder and louder. Gradually, many in the U.S. business community, which was a key buffer in the relationship, began to endorse Donald Trump’s hard-line approach (although they don’t like paying tariffs).

Since Xi took power and made himself effectively president for life and tightened the Communist Party’s control over all matters, U.S. journalists working in China have had their access sharply curtailed; China has become more aggressive in projecting its power into the South China Sea; it’s become more fixated on subsidizing its high-tech start-ups to dominate key industries by 2025; it is imposing a new national security law to curtail longstanding freedoms in Hong Kong; it’s stepped up its bullying of Taiwan, taken a very aggressive approach toward India and intensified its internment of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang; it’s jailed two innocent Canadians to swap for a detained Chinese businesswoman; and it even hammered countries that dared to ask for an independent inquiry into how the coronavirus emerged in Wuhan.

After Australia’s prime minister called for such an investigation in April, China’s ambassador to Australia brazenly threatened economic retaliation, and a few weeks later China cut off beef and barley imports from Australian companies, citing bogus health and trade violations.

That is the kind of crude bullying that has helped to strip China of virtually every ally it had in Washington — allies for a policy that basically said, “We have different systems, but let’s build bridges with China where possible, engage where it is mutually beneficial and draw redlines where necessary.”

That balanced policy approach always had to contain serious tensions, ugliness and disagreements on issues — but in the end it delivered enough mutual benefit to be sustained for 40 years. That balance is now off as far as many Americans are concerned. I am one of them.

As Orville Schell, one of the most sensible advocates of this balanced approach, wrote in an essay a few weeks ago on TheWireChina.com: “Today, as the U.S. faces its most adversarial state with the People’s Republic of China in years, the always fragile policy framework of engagement feels like a burnt-out case. … A recent Pew poll shows that only 26 percent of Americans view China favorably, the lowest percentage since its surveys began in 2005.”

But if China has increasingly overreached, America has increasingly underperformed.

It is not just that China reportedly has fewer than 5,000 Covid-19 deaths and America has over 120,000 — and the virus started there. It is not just that it takes about 22 hours on Amtrak to go from New York to Chicago, while it takes 4.5 hours to take the bullet train from Beijing to Shanghai, slightly farther apart. It’s not just that the pandemic has accelerated China’s transformation to a cashless, digital society.

It’s that we have reduced investments in the true sources of our strength — infrastructure, education, government-funded scientific research, immigration and the right rules to incentivize productive investment and prevent excessive risk-taking. And we have stopped leveraging our greatest advantage over China — that we have allies who share our values and China only has customers who fear its wrath.

If we got together with our allies, we could collectively influence China to accept new rules on trade and Covid-19 and a range of other issues. But Trump refused to do so, making everything a bilateral deal or a fight with Xi. So now China is offering sweetheart deals to U.S. and other foreign companies to come into or stay in China, and its market is now so big, few companies can resist.

Summing up the relationship today, McGregor, of APCO Worldwide, noted: “I don’t know if the Chinese are taking America seriously anymore. They are happy to just let us keep damaging ourselves. We have to wake up and grow up” — and get our own act and allies together. China respects one thing only: leverage. Today, we have too little and China has too much.

Source: Opinion | China and America Are Heading Toward Divorce – The New York Times

Posted in: China, Foreign Affairs and U.S.ForeignPolicy

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Opinion | Trump Is Playing the China Card. Who Believes Him? – By Susan E. Rice – The New York Times

He attacks Joe Biden to deflect blame for his terrible handling of Covid-19 and record of appeasing Beijing.

By 

Contributing Opinion Writer

Credit…Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post, via Getty Images

“There is a long history of American presidential candidates using China as a campaign cudgel — from Bill Clinton blasting President George H.W. Bush in 1992 for dealing with a Chinese premier known as the “Butcher of Beijing” to Donald Trump’s 2016 attack that the Obama administration had allowed China to “rape” the United States while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state. This election year, China-bashing will reach a new level, as Mr. Trump seeks to capitalize on high voter disapproval of China, Beijing’s failure to contain the coronavirus and persistent bilateral tensions between our countries.

Desperate to obscure the reality of more than 90,000 American deaths and 36 million unemployed amid Mr. Trump’s utterly incompetent handling of the pandemic, Republicans have no better strategy than to play the China card. The Republicans are executing a 57-page campaign memo that recommends branding opponents “soft on China” and reveals their rationale for repeated refrains of the “Chinese virus” and “Wuhan lab.”

For Mr. Trump, attacking former Vice President Joe Biden on China serves three purposes: to dampen turnout among populist Democrats; to deflect blame for his deadly mishandling of the coronavirus for which he takes no “responsibility at all”; and most cynically, to try to turn his own blatant weakness on China into a political weapon. Mr. Trump’s penchant for projecting his personal failings onto others is one of his most familiar and dishonest ploys — whether the subject is corruption, nepotism, sexual assault or Russian interference in the 2016 election, as with so-called Obamagate.”

Source: Opinion | Trump Is Playing the China Card. Who Believes Him? – The New York Times

Posted in: China, Foreign Affairs and U.S.ForeignPolicy

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Philippines Tells U.S. It Will End Military Cooperation Deal – By Jason Gutierrez – The New York Times

MANILA — The Philippines said Tuesday it had officially informed the United States that it was scrapping a military pact that has given the longtime American ally a security blanket for the past two decades.

The notice to terminate the pact, the Visiting Forces Agreement, comes as President Rodrigo Duterte has warmed up to China while distancing himself from the United States, the Philippines’ former colonial ruler. The move also comes as the Philippines has shown increasing reluctance to stand up to China over its territorial claims in the South China Sea.

The agreement lets the United States rotate its forces through Philippine military bases. It has allowed for roughly 300 joint exercises annually between the American and Philippine militaries, said R. Clarke Cooper, the assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs. He told reporters Monday that the termination of the agreement would put those operations “at risk.”

The agreement still remains in force, but the notice to terminate it, delivered to the American Embassy in Manila, starts a clock under which it will remain in effect for 180 days before lapsing.

Source: Philippines Tells U.S. It Will End Military Cooperation Deal – The New York Times

Posted in: China, Foreign Affairs and U.S.ForeignPolicy, Phililppines

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Opinion | The World-Shaking News That You’re Missing – By Thomas L. Friedman – The New York Times

By 

Opinion Columnist

Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

“SINGAPORE — One of the most negative byproducts of the Trump presidency is that all we talk about now is Donald Trump. Don’t get me wrong: How can we not be fixated on a president who daily undermines the twin pillars of our democracy: truth and trust?

But there are some tectonic changes underway behind the Trump noise machine that demand a serious national discussion, like the future of U.S.-China relations. Yet it’s not happening — because all we talk about is Donald Trump.

Consider this: On Nov. 9, European leaders gathered in Berlin to mark the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. It was an anniversary worth celebrating. But no one seemed to notice that almost exactly 30 years after the Berlin Wall fell, a new wall — a digital Berlin Wall — had begun to be erected between China and America. And the only thing left to be determined, a Chinese business executive remarked to me, “is how high this wall will be,” and which countries will choose to be on which side.

This new wall, separating a U.S.-led technology and trade zone from a Chinese-led one, will have implications as vast as the wall bisecting Berlin did. Because the peace, prosperity and accelerations in technology and globalization that have so benefited the world over the past 40 years were due, in part, to the interweaving of the U.S. and Chinese economies.”

Source: Opinion | The World-Shaking News That You’re Missing – The New York Times

Posted in: China, Foreign Affairs and U.S.ForeignPolicy, Thomas Friedman

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As Huawei Loses Google, the U.S.-China Tech Cold War Gets Its Iron Curtain – By Li Yuan – The New York Times

By Li Yuan


“China has spent nearly two decades building a digital wall between itself and the rest of the world, a one-way barrier designed to keep out foreign companies like Facebook and Google while allowing Chinese rivals to leave home and expand across the world.

Now President Trump is sealing up that wall from the other side.

Google on Monday began to limit the software services it provides to Huawei, the telecommunications giant, after a White House order last week restricted the Chinese company’s access to American technology. Google’s software powers Huawei’s smartphones, and its apps come preloaded on the devices Huawei sells around the world. Depending on how the White House’s order is carried out, that could come to a stop.

For Huawei, the big impact will be abroad, since Chinese customers already have limited access to Google’s services. Google’s move will have its biggest effect in places like Europe, where it has emerged as a big smartphone seller. Other companies will inevitably follow. In effect, the move puts pressure on Huawei’s international expansion dreams.

If China and the United States have begun a technological Cold War, then the Huawei order can best be seen as the beginnings of a digital Iron Curtain. In this potential vision of the future of technology, China will continue to keep out much of the world. The United States and many other countries, goes this thinking, will in turn block Chinese technology.”

Source: As Huawei Loses Google, the U.S.-China Tech Cold War Gets Its Iron Curtain – The New York Times

Posted in: China, Foreign Affairs and U.S.ForeignPolicy, Trade and Trade Policy, United States

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Five Takeaways From Our New China Project – by Megan Specia – The New York Times

By Megan Specia Nov. 21, 2018 阅读简体中文版閱讀繁體中文版Leer en español How did China do it? When The New York Times set out to take a big-picture look at China, the what was obvious enough: Across the Pacific Ocean from the United States lies the world’s newest superpower, a rival to American interests both economic and political. The how was another matter. How did the land once commonly — and with some disdain — known in the West as Communist China

“How did China do it?

When The New York Times set out to take a big-picture look at China, the what was obvious enough: Across the Pacific Ocean from the United States lies the world’s newest superpower, a rival to American interests both economic and political.

The how was another matter.

How did the land once commonly — and with some disdain — known in the West as Communist China come to lead the world in the number of homeowners, internet users, college graduates and, by some counts, billionaires?

How did a once-cloistered nation with a flailing economy drive extreme poverty down to less than 1 percent? How did it achieve social economic mobility unrivaled by much of the world?

And perhaps most of all, how did a country that rejected all of the conventional wisdom Western economists had to offer arrive at a moment when it is on track to surpass the American economy and become the world’s largest?”

Source: Five Takeaways From Our New China Project – The New York Times

Posted in: China, Foreign Affairs and U.S.ForeignPolicy

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