Saturday, February 13, 2010

Wounded US-China Ties Take Time To Heal

The United States has insisted that the sale of arms to Taiwan is in accordance with the established Taiwan Relations Act to provide certain degree of self-defense to Taiwan, whereas Beijing has applied the most extreme use of diplomatic language to accuse the US gross interference in China's internal affairs.

Factors and Obstacles
What triggered added conflict between the two nations came when President Barack Obama intends to arrange a grand reception for Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama. The Chinese Government felt further wounded because it considers the Dalai Lama as the anti-state spoiler. In order to please the Chinese authority, few months ago, President Obama did say he would not receive the Dalai Lama. But now President Obama wants to treat the Dalai Lama as the world's religious elder and honored guest.
The Chinese Government also asked the United States not to treat the Dalai Lama with such high honor. With the absence of other factors and obstacles, President Obama is likely to meet with the Dalai Lama this month before he plans his trip to Indonesia and Australia.
In response, China has also shown its tough stance to confront the US evasive act in attacking China's two most sensitive issues. Not too long ago the world community has seen the leaders from these two countries performed a scene of bi-lateral cooperation and goodwill show. When the China-US relationship sudden takes such a confrontational downturn, no matter how either side tries to mend the crack in friendship in the future, there will always be a scare between China and the United States that can neither be wiped off nor whitewashed.

Sensitive Issues
If President Obama does not want to give in to China's request and proceeds with his plan to first sell arms to Taiwan and then receive the Dalai Lama as prestigious guest, this will imply that the United States ignores the request of China. This will also imply that the United States has taken the stand to ignore the revenge or confrontation that China might take by not wanting to cooperate with the United States on issues pertaining to North Korea, Iran, counterterrorism, economic and trade, military and cultural exchanges. If this is the scenario, then the protest of China over these two sensitive issues is but an empty cannon ball that can make loud sound but cannot reap actual result.
However, if President Obama changes his mind and makes new decision to neither sell arms to Taiwan nor receive the Dalai Lama, China will be the wounded winner, but in the end President Obama and the United States will be the wounded and biggest loser.

Time Ahead
Even if both countries make a concession and make a choice between arms sale to Taiwan and receiving the Dalai Lama, both China and the United States will still be the wounded loser. There is no winner in this round of confrontation. The scare of the wounded US-Sino ties will remain. It will take a long time for the wounded US-China ties to heal. In the coming days, through this wound, some small issues can blow into big US-Sino bilateral disaster.

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