Wednesday, July 20, 2005

China Round Up

We've got a pretty good round-up of some articles on China recently.

The Los Angeles Times had two articles from a couple days ago worth reading detailing China's global quest for oil and the new round of Sino-U.S. diplomatic engagement, beginning next month. The Chinese crusade for oil all over the world, where dealing with some not-too-friendly-to-us governments like Venezuela and Iran is viewed by Chinese officials as strictly securing economic interests, has raised concern for many of China's assertion as an emerging world power. The diplomatic engagement with China next month will be headed by Dep. SecState Robert Zoellick, who, as the U.S. trade rep during President Bush's first term, was instrumental in getting China admitted to the WTO. The key, it seems, for both sides is getting the management of China's rise right. Do we consider their rise hostile to U.S. security or do we seek a strategic partnership?

In this context, the Pentagon has released its annual report on Chinese military power. The New York Times reports on it here. The Pentagon report (PDF file) is here.

It looks like the Bush team is performing a balancing act on their China policy. Hawks in the Pentagon and Congress worry about China's intentions toward Taiwan, the balance of power in Asia and its coziness with American adversaries like Venezuela and Iran via oil deals. The other view is headed up by Zoellick and Asst. SecState for East Asia, Christopher Hill, who see the Chinese as more of a partner than a hostile belligerent. I'm more sympathetic to the State Dept. view on China, as I think the Chinese are rational and, despite some of their new oil "friends," are economic determinists. I don't see them risking all their economic gain and political clout for a confrontation with the U.S. that would likely erase all that and devastate the global economy. But it is still necessary to monitor China's military developments, especially their arms transactions.

Lastly, Tom Friedman is talking China today in his column, and I like what he's saying.

Also see my post on the Pentagon and Goldman Sachs.


Anonymous William said...

Awesome! Thanks.

5:48 PM  

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