>China and the US: How far is it going to go?
>Causes of conflict:
- China’s sudden growth, especially as it isn’t matching expectations in terms of actual improvements for many, has encouraged a sense of ‘aggrieved nationalism’. People feel angry about the lost century where China was weak and exploited by the West. But they also feel confident due to a sense of ‘positive nationalism’.
- The US is angry about China’s denial of Tibetan freedoms.
- The US is determined to protect Taiwan as Chinese control would most likely limit US influence in the region.
- China and the US differ in many ideological respects. For example the US feels it is necessary to take a strong precense in the world, and be tough on rogue states such as North Korea and Iran. China on the other hand divorces economics from politics, with the view that economic sanctions will only harm the people.
- In 2001 a US spy plane was forced to land in China after colliding with a Chinese fighter.
- In March 2009 disagreements over access rights in the waters around China came close to causing conflict.
- China’s navy has been growing more active in its territorial waters.
- China is upgrading its military and space capability, and Washington has said Beijing should be more open about its defence spending and strategic intentions.
- Washington’s arms sales to Taiwan anger China.
- The US complains that China is maintaining a deliberately weak currency to attract trade, and should therefore revalue it.
- China is the largest foreign holder of US treasuries.
- After publicly promising to advocate free trade and no protectionism despite the current crisis, the US introduced duties on tyres.
- U.S. firms investing in China complain about intellectual property theft, murky regulations, corruption and unfair advantages enjoyed by domestic rivals.
- China complains about investment barriers on the U.S. side, citing resource investments blocked on national security grounds.
- Google was the victim of several cyber attacks, which sought to find out names and emails addresses of likely reformers (such as those that signed Charter 08; on the Politics page).
- The spiritual leader of Tibet, the Dalai Lama, makes frequent visits to the United States despite Chinese objections.
- etc etc I could go on.
Many people in the west are calling out for governments to put pressure on China to reform, particularly in the sphere of human rights and currency issues.
But are these people right that the West should attempt to ‘manage’ China while it still has the chance? Or should we be more cautious? And what do you think will happen? Will tensions escalate?