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Interview: Cooperation between U.S., |
China essential: U.S. experts
10:03, April 03, 2010
Some U.S. experts on China suggested that the United States and China have different perceptions towards each other, but cooperation on critical global issues is essential and will necessarily involve sacrifices at home.
Clayton Dube, Associate Director of U.S. China Institute at the University of Southern California, told Xinhua in a recent interview that domestic political concerns drive leaders in both countries, and neither side wants to be perceived by their fellow citizens as not standing up for core interests of their own countries.
However, he said, what is vital is for leaders on both sides to convince their fellow citizens that cooperation on critical global issues is essential. Although it will involve sacrifices at home, ultimately those sacrifices will be rewarded to progress in addressing climate change, furthering economic growth and constraining the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
"Strong leaders know that they must sometimes yield on important measures in order to attain even more crucial aims. That must happen now and it must happen on both sides," stressed Dube.
"Leaders must always be sensitive to domestic pressures, but they also have a responsibility to look forward and to take action that will yield a better tomorrow, even if there are political costs today," said Dube.
Stanley Rosen, Director of the East Asian Studies Center at the University of Southern California, told Xinhua that the political system, the role of media, ideology, political culture and political history between the two countries are very different, therefore it is easy for the two countries to misunderstand each other.
However, in Rosen's opinion, both sides do not want the situation to get out of control.
"It is a two level game," he said, explaining that the U.S. leaders will deal with China, and Chinese leaders will deal with the U.S., then the U.S. leaders will deal with the U.S. and Chinese leaders will deal with China.
He said the Obama Administration will have to worry about the U. S. Congress, and public opinion. His leadership has been weakened by the health care debate and he is worried about the mid-term election.
"There is much pressure on him to be tough on China," said Rosen.
On the Chinese side, Rosen said Chinese leaders also face great pressure to be tough on the U.S. from the military, the National People's Congress, etc. "It is a nature of politics," Rosen said.
From the U.S. side, Rosen said the message is Obama tries to be flexible in foreign affairs, but the flexibility has been perceived as weak towards China.
"His flexibility is not awarded, so he has to show his toughness towards China. The American and Chinese perceptions are different," said Rosen.
For example, he said, the U.S. is tough on the currency issue and has put pressure on the Chinese side to reevaluate its currency. However, even in the U.S. there is a debate on whether the evaluation of RMB will help U.S. exports or to which degree the change of value of the Chinese currency will help increase jobs in the U.S..
Rosen said the U.S. tends to be governed by elections. In his opinion, before the November election, the U.S. is unlikely to make concessions on issues on currency and others.
He said what the U.S. can do is very limited right now, but he does not expect that the U.S. will take major actions to further deteriorate the U.S.-China relations. In his opinion, the Obama Administration and Democrats need to show their toughness towards China to woo voters before the mid-term election.
He said most U.S. Congressional members are politicians but not statesmen. What they care about is to get re-elected every two years. Therefore, whether a small business will be closed and several dozens of employees will lose their jobs in their district is certainly a big concern for them, while whether what they have done will impact U.S.-China relations is not what they are caring about.
Ben Tang, Director of Asian Studies at the Claremont Institute, told Xinhua that nationalism in both countries is on the increase and China has felt the pressure. However, he said the importance for the U.S. and China to cooperate should be carefully taken into consideration while making big decisions.
Tang said that there is a trend of trade protectionism in the U. S. and some Americans attempt to let the world share the burden of its economic recession, that will set a very bad example in the world.
But in Tang's opinion, the increasing trade protectionism and voices to be tough on China in the U.S. are partly fueled by the mid-term election to be held in November this year. He said such a situation won't last long. It will gradually die down after the election.