China-US Relations: New relationship after the big elections?

By Tiange Jia

Last week, China and the US both fill out the roster of officials. As the two most influential countries in the world economy, there’s no doubt that the climate of the relationship between the two countries will affect the world economy. Thus, will the new leading groups affect the relationship between China and the US?

During the election, China has grown accustomed to Obama, since Mitt Romney said in his campaign that he will declare China a “currency manipulator” on the first day of his presidency even though we don’t know if he was just saying it to show his power and determination. However, Obama also declared his tough attitudes towards China, while some Chinese experts prefer to explain it as Obama’s strategy to cater to the working class because of the rise of protectionist sentiment during the election.

Although Obama won the election, there are still many problems between China and the US that need to be solved or discussed in the next four years. The dispute will remain on exportation, trade protectionism, high-tech piracy, human rights, and the competition of world influence. The US deeply worried that its impact in the Asia-Pacific region will be reduced by the regaining power of China, and the US will be excluded from the process of integration in the region.

Obama’s visit to Myanmar only days after the re-election and right after the change of China’s top leadership shows his strategic move to the Asia-Pacific region and respond to China’s increasing power in the region. China recently has territory dispute with a few Southeast Asian countries, including Myanmar. Obama’s action has no doubt adds an uncertainty to the China-US relations.

“Providing a new relationship with Myanmar not only counters that easy, uncontested access with China, but it also lets China know it has to deal with all of Southeast Asia in a way that’s going to be respectful of each country.” said Patrick Cronin, senior adviser at the nonpartisan Center for American Security.

The US’s strategy is trying to engage with this region from three aspects. Militarily, the US will increase cooperation with the Southeast Asian nations, like more and larger military exercises in the region. Politically, the US keeping supporting the countries which have territorial disputes with China. And economically, the US is working on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is a regional free-trade agreement in the region without China. The US shows a tough sign to China’s quick expansion in influences to the Southeast Asia, and these will cause many concerns in Beijing. While other experts think people may overemphasized the role of China. Nations in Southeast may not want to get on China’s nerves, and the engagement may just because that the US wants to show to North Korea the benefits of open up and reform.

In my opinion, to China, the advantage of re-election of Obama is that they don’t need to take time to adapt and learn each other. All we hope is that China and the US can promote dialogue and enhance mutual understanding. Although “a country does not have permanent friends, only permanent interests”, and the barriers between eastern and western sides may never be eliminated, if China and the US’s relations can make contributions to the growth of the world economy, and peace of the global environment, that’s the most important thing that people concern.

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