The summit between American President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao was labeled a historic meeting, where Obama said they would “lay the foundation for the next 30 years.” Points of agreement and disagreement have clearly arisen.
The cooperation of both superpowers is indispensable in solving the world's problems, and their tangled web of collaboration, competition and restraint seems to be progressing. Japan would like to repair relations with China, which have been worsening since the Chinese fishing boat collision incident in the seas around the Senkaku archipelago. It would also like an active role in shaping the cooperative system between the two superpowers.
Both leaders agreed on the importance of a dialogue between North and South Korea over North Korea’s nuclear program and the bombing of Yeonpyeong Island. China is North Korea’s main backer, but for the first time it expressed anxiety over the North Korean uranium-enrichment program. The main question is whether or not China can force North Korea to change their attitude.
American papers report that at an informal dinner meeting Obama made a stern point to Hu. He warned that if China doesn’t take firm measures to force North Korea to cease its aggressive actions — including uranium enrichment — America will have to strengthen its military presence on the Korean Peninsula. Conversely, Hu said in his address that if America sells arms to Taiwan, American-Chinese relations will suffer.
On the human rights front, Obama demanded the release of Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, and Hu refused, saying Obama should respect “the principle of noninterference in each other's internal affairs.” The revaluation of the Chinese yuan also remains a contentious issue.
There are still obvious disconnects between the two countries on specific issues, but when compared to the rest of post-World War II history, American-Chinese relations are certainly changing for the better.
You already can’t talk about global economics without mentioning China. China is the world’s largest holder of American national bonds. Moreover, investments between China and America have only been increasing. Private sector economic ties have become stronger than ever before, and one country’s existence is becoming dependent on the other.
Beginning in 1949 and through the Cold War era, China had an antagonistic relationship with America. In 1972, American President Richard Nixon visited Beijing and met with Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong. In 1979, diplomatic relations were established. Reform and liberalization policies were published in 1978. Even after the end of the Cold War, they pressed forward on the route toward a “socialist market economy.”
Strangely enough, the Chinese GDP presented by Hu during his 2010 visit to America was [about] 39.798 trillion yuan (roughly 500 trillion yen). Thus, China has finally overtaken Japan as the world's second-largest economy. It might be said that economic globalization has changed American-Chinese relations.
There is economic friction between the two countries, such as the trade imbalance and the revaluation of the yuan. China may have been trying to deflect some criticism by forcing negotiations over a trade package, including the purchase of 200 American airplanes, worth about $45 billion (roughly 3.7 trillion yen).
China is dealing with many unstable domestic issues, such as the economic divide between the cities and the farming villages, repeated worker strikes over low wages, its large production of greenhouse gases, the change to a domestic demand-based economy and the need to reduce energy consumption.
The Chinese navy has expanded its sphere of action to the Western Pacific Ocean and has come into conflict with America. This fight for hegemony in East Asia is cause for concern.
Fraught with these problems, American-Chinese relations have entered a new era.