ISSN 2330-717X

China-US: Differences Amid Upcoming Power Transition In Beijing – OpEd


By Andrei Ilyashenko

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping is to arrive in Washington on February 13, a visit that comes in line with official Beijing’s plans to involve incumbent Chinese President Hu Jintao’s successor in details of the world policy and tarnished bilateral relations. Xi Jinping is tipped to become the future Chinese President.

In January, China said its “No” to the United States’ proposal to join an embargo on oil imports from Iran – a move that can be explained by the fact that Iranian oil supplies cover a significant part of China’s energy balance. Other explanation is that like Russia, China also principally rejects a policy of sanctions against Tehran.

China’s and Russia’s recently blocking the West’s draft resolution on Syria in the UN Security Council provoked international uproar.

China, on its part, traditionally softens Washington’s pressure on Pyongyang, while the United States backs Beijing’s opponents in a spat over disputable islands in the South China Sea. Washington also blames Beijing for backsliding on human rights and slams China’s policy with respect to Tibet and Taiwan.

In his address to the nation on January 24, President Barack Obama announced the formation of a governmental organization which he said will deal with “China’s unfair trade actions.”

The two countries also remain at odds over a host of security issues.

Obama’s visit to Australia late last year was followed by Washington’s announcing plans to expand the US’ military presence in the Asia-Pacific region – something that Washington said stipulates creating a new military base in Darwin. “The deployment of US troops in Australia reflects Washington’s long-term policy aimed at containing China,” Moscow-based political analyst Gennady Yefstafiev said.

According to Major General Michael Keltz of the US Air Force, “we will covertly continue to enhance our contacts and alliances in the Pacific Ocean. Behind somebody’s back, we will effectively strengthen our capabilities.” Already on service in the Pacific Ocean are three of six squadrons of the US F-22 Stealth fighter jets which are deployed outside the United States. Also on service in the Asia-Pacific regions are 2 squadrons of the US C-17 cargo planes, as well as 31 combat nuclear-powered submarines and 8 strategic atomic submarines, plus the US 7th Fleet, including the George Washington aircraft carrier.

It would seem strange, of course, if Beijing declined to perceive such a strategic potential as a threat, analysts say. As a counter-measure, Beijing could mull creating a Eurasian alliance between China and Russia – something that was mentioned by China’s Yinzminz Yizbau newspaper on January 30.

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VOR, or the Voice of Russia, was the Russian government's international radio broadcasting service from 1993 until 2014, when it was reorganised as Radio Sputnik.

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