By John Chen and Frank Wu
April 6, 2010 | San Francisco Chronicle
After high hopes for President Obama's visit last fall to Beijing, the December climate change conference in Copenhagen resulted in a major setback. More recently, disputes have erupted around Tibet, arms sales to Taiwan, China's currency valuation, the Google China controversy and proposed legislation by Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., that would impose tariffs on Chinese products imported to this country, raising the specter of a trade war.Such tension is in part the residue of Cold War tensions between the United States and China, despite the latter's revolutionary shift to a market economy. Another considerable factor is that this is an election year here at home, and that a major shift of power is also in the offing in Beijing. The leaders of both nations are, as usual, directing their rhetoric toward their domestic constituents. . . .
. . . the entire world stands to suffer greatly if this bilateral relationship is allowed to devolve. Think of what might be possible if the United States and China found a way to partner on issues of climate change and alternative energy. In this area alone, there is much to be gained if the two nations cooperate, and almost unimaginable suffering to follow if the United States and China cannot find a way forward together.
Here at home, Chinese Americans and other Asian Americans worry about racism as an element in the U.S.-China dynamic. Though rarely referred to overtly, it is nonetheless a very real element in the Asian American community's fear of backlash. Anger about Asia and Asians can be colored by stereotypes, adversely affecting Americans of Asian descent who are assimilated and loyal to this country. . . .
Some are hoping that Presidents Obama and Hu will find time next week to talk, and that this might lead to a "U-turn" in U.S.-China relations. We dearly hope so. Both nations must, to paraphrase a Chinese proverb, "seek common ground while respecting differences."
By Andrew S. RossApril 11, 2010 | San Francisco Chronicle
Ahead of President Hu Jintao's visit to Washington this week, we asked a number of business leaders, academic experts and policy makers about the current state of U.S.-China relations.
George Koo, former director, Chinese Services Group, Deloitte & Touche LLC.The rhetorical question implies that there is something to lose in the bilateral relationship. Geopolitically, the United States and China have no formal alliances and can't lose what they don't have. But economically, the two countries are joined at the hip. One side cannot inflict a loss on the other without serious blowback consequences. . . .Orville Schell, director, Center on U.S.-China Relations, Asia Society
There are reports that China may allow the value of its currency, the renminbi, to rise a little against the dollar. But to substantially increase it, as some are demanding, will raise the cost of our imports and affect our standard of living. It also means the devaluation of the trillions of China's dollar-based holdings, which is asking China to act against its own interest. In fact, China is wary of holding so many dollars, given the recent Wall Street-induced crisis, and is looking for ways to lighten its holdings. The United States won't be happy about that, either.As a member of the World Trade Organization, China has benefited enormously from the transnational web of connectivity arising around the advance of globalization. Thus, it is somewhat disingenuous for its leaders to imagine that they can irrevocably corral off whole hemispheres of activity as lying completely outside the sphere of common interest. . . .Susan Shirk, deputy assistant secretary of state in the Clinton administration, now director of the UC Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation
The United States can do its part by helping China's leaders feel more comfortable in adopting a more reciprocal posture, rather than, as in the past, seeing their country as a victim, or a world unto itself in a universe where one nation's gain is always another's loss. . . .
Many issues still divide the two countries. But, Chinese leaders should not fail to appreciate that the Obama administration has extended a new hand of friendship. If China's leaders truly want better relations, now is the time to recognize that these intentions are genuine and find their own ways to respond in kind.The loss of export demand from the United States, caused by the recession, was a great shock to the Chinese. They had to make up for it with domestic investment and domestic demand - and they learned they could survive. That suggested to Chinese leaders they didn't need the United States quite as much as they thought. . . .
But the United States needs China, which has become a major engine of global growth, to be more of an engine of growth for us. China should drop the non-tariff barriers that are making it hard for our companies to sell to China.
Going forward, I want to see new kinds of economic interdependence. I want to see more Chinese investment in the United States, and the United States welcoming it. I want to see China do what Japan did - opening auto plants and appliance plants, and so forth - that help create jobs for American workers.
John Chen, chairman and CEO of Sybase Inc., a NYSE-traded database and mobile technology company headquartered in Dublin [CA]I am an optimist when it comes to U.S.-China relations. . . . As a businessman, I compare this relationship to the stock market. Over the long term, it is trending up, but we need to learn from the down cycles.
Currently, a great deal of tension lingers between the two nations. Few of these issues are new, but what's troubling is the short time span in which so many of them have sprung back up. China and the United States need a cooling-off period. I am hopeful President Hu Jintao's visit and his talks with President Obama will at least turn down the temperature.
From a business perspective, U.S. multinationals operating in China have benefited from the closer ties between the two countries. Sybase has a history of 20 years of doing business successfully in China. Our company views China not simply as a market, but as an integral and fast-growing part of our global operations - from R&D, to marketing and sales, to customer support. Our six locations in China serve Sybase's global market, which certainly includes the U.S. market. And I am immensely proud of their contribution.
Richard King, board member of SinoHub in San Francisco, an Amex-listed electronics supply chain company headquartered in Shenzhen, ChinaNeither nation can afford the loss. China provides the United States with low-cost products while purchasing our debt, thus keeping inflation in check - just as China has lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty by employing them to make those products. The economic interdependence is undeniable.
We also need China to address global problems such as climate control, nuclear nonproliferation, Iran and North Korea. China can even play a constructive role in Afghanistan, with which it shares a common border.
At the same time, China is making rapid strides in wind, solar and other clean fuels. We can benefit from those developments, as can China from our expertise in those technologies.
China is also launching an ambitious program to employ clean nuclear energy; more nuclear power plants are planned for China in the next decade than in the rest of the world combined. Were we to move away from our Cold War mentality and sell nuclear technology to China - U.S. policy forbids this, despite the fact that China, which prefers to buy from Westinghouse, can purchase the technology from Europe - we could benefit even more. . . .
interview with Committee of
100 Chairman John Chen By Shui Junyi
April 6, 2010 | CCTVThis interview [in Chinese] concerns the Committee’s role as a bridge between the U.S. and China and the challenge of being a bridge during times of tension, including military sales to Taiwan, President Obama’s visit with the Dalai Lama, not to speak of differences over trade and currency issues. Chen showed optimism about the future of our relationship, however, because we have faced all these issues before, although not all at the same time.