US puts big ‘ef­fort’ into China ties

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By CHEN WEIHUA in Wash­ing­ton chen­wei­hua@chi­nadai­lyusa. com

Past and present US of­fi­cials have em­pha­sized build­ing a con­struc­tive and pro­duc­tive re­la­tion­ship with China.

Tom Donilon, the US na­tional se­cu­rity ad­vi­sor from Oc­to­ber 2010 to June 2013, said on Thurs­day that the US has put enor­mous ef­fort into build­ing such a re­la­tion­ship with China.

He de­scribed meet­ings be­tween top lead­ers of the two na­tions as an in­ten­sive in­volve­ment in terms of re­la­tions.

In his first term in of­fice, US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama had met then Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Hu Jin­tao 13 times. He has had two meet­ings with cur­rent Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping, in­clud­ing the widely­ac­claimed sum­mit at Sun­ny­lands, Cal­i­for­nia, last June, when they vowed to build a new type of ma­jor coun­try re­la­tion­ship.

Obama and Xi are also sched­uled to meet late this month in The Hague, the Nether­lands, dur­ing a nu­clear sum­mit at­tended by world lead­ers.

Donilon said such in­volve­ment is im­por­tant be­cause the US has at least dual roles in the re­gion.

“On the one hand, our al­lies and part­ners in the re­gion want to see us meet our obli­ga­tions and pro­vide the re­as­sur­ance that is nec­es­sary, par­tic­u­larly in the wake of the rapid rise of China,” Donilon told a group of for­eign pol­icy ex­perts at the Brook­ings In­sti­tu­tion.

“On the other hand, they ex­pect us to have a con­struc­tive and pro­duc­tive re­la­tion­ship with China that doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily force choices for coun­tries in the re­gion. That is a very im­por­tant in­sight,” he said.

While the US re­bal­anc­ing to Asia strat­egy started by Obama four years ago has drawn sus­pi­cion from China, Donilon said he had spent at least 30 hours giv­ing pre­sen­ta­tions to the Chi­nese lead­er­ship about the re­bal­ance over his last four years in the White House.

“Per­haps no coun­try has ben­e­fited more than China, frankly, from the US pres­ence in Asia,” he said.

China has wel­comed a pos­i­tive US role in the re­gion but also urged Wash­ing­ton to be un­bi­ased in its words and deeds be­tween China and US al­lies in the re­gion, such as Ja­pan and the Philip­pines.

Donilon dis­missed Chi­nese sus­pi­cion of the US re­bal­anc­ing to Asia strat­egy as a con­tain­ment of China. “It doesn’t re­sem­ble a $500 bil­lion trade re­la­tion­ship, or any­thing like the re­la­tion­ship that we have with China,” he said.

He de­scribed the mil­i­taryto-mil­i­tary re­la­tion­ship which is way be­hind the diplo­matic and eco­nomic re­la­tions as a ma­jor con­cern. “That continues to worry me, frankly,” he said.

China and the US have both made ef­forts to beef up their mil­i­tary ex­changes in the past few years. US De­fense Sec­re­tary Chuck Hagel is ex­pected to visit China in April and the Chi­nese navy will par­tic­i­pate for the first time in the Rim of Pa­cific naval ex­er­cise this sum­mer.

De­spite a lack of longterm strate­gic trust, Donilon said the two coun­tries have quite good mech­a­nisms in terms of com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

“Frankly, there isn’t re­ally any rea­son for there to be any ques­tions to go unan­swered be­tween China and the United States about our in­ten­tions,” he said.

Donilon’s words echo what Daniel Rus­sel, the US as­sis­tant sec­re­tary of state for East Asian and Pa­cific af­fairs, tes­ti­fied on Tues­day be­fore the Se­nate Sub­com­mit­tee on Asia and the Pa­cific.

Rus­sel, a for­mer sub­or­di­nate of Donilon’s at the Na­tional Se­cu­rity Coun­cil, told the law­mak­ers that the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion has con­sis­tently made its best ef­forts to build a strong and co­op­er­a­tive re­la­tion­ship with China.

“Tan­gi­ble, prac­ti­cal and vis­i­ble co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the United States and China is crit­i­cal to ad­dress­ing re­gional and global chal­lenges, from North Korea to cli­mate change,” he said.

He said that the US seeks good re­la­tions be­tween China and its neigh­bors. “We en­cour­age all our al­lies to pur­sue pos­i­tive and con­struc­tive re­la­tions with China. I want to make very clear that our al­liances, in north­east Asia and around the re­gion, are not aimed at China,” Rus­sel said.

SUN CHENBEI / CHINA DAILY

For­mer US Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­vi­sor Tom Donilon talks about the US re­bal­ance to Asia strat­egy and US-China re­la­tions at the Brook­ings In­sti­tu­tion in Wash­ing­ton DC on Thurs­day.

WANG JUN / CHINA DAILY

Street view of Los Angeles down­town area.

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