Obama in China: Don't Bite the Hand That Feeds You

US President Barack Obama arrived in China for a three-day visit. Obama started the visit on November 16 in Shanghai with official meetings at the city administration and attending a local museum. Afterwards, the US leader left to Beijing to meet China’s leader Hu Jintao.

There are a number of problems in the relations between the United States and China. As for economy, the US administration is concerned about the low level of the yuan, which, as US officials believes, gives China commercial advantages.

As for politics, the Americans periodically accuse China of the lack of democracy and violation of human rights. Obama dropped a hint about that during his speech at the Museum of Science and Technology in Shanghai.

"We do not seek to impose any system of government on any other nation, but we also don't believe that the principles that we stand for are unique to our nation. These freedoms of expression and worship; of access to information and political participation, we believe are universal rights. They should be available to all people, including ethnic and religious minorities; whether they are in the United States, China, or any nation,” Obama stated Monday.

China in its turn views the USA’s “lessons of democracy” as interference into the nation’s internal affairs. In addition, the Chinese are concerned about the fact that Tibet’s Dalai Lama, who is considered a separatist in China, is allowed to enter the US territory freely. China is also seriously concerned about the delivery of US arms to Taiwan.

However, there have been no scandals in the US-Chinese relations recently. Pravda.Ru interviewed Vladimir Portyakov, deputy director of the Institute for the Far East of the Russian Academy of Sciences about the current state of affairs in the relations between the United States and China.

What is the current condition of the US-Chinese relations?

“The relations are neither perfect, nor terrible. I would like to stress this out here that they are the most important bilateral relations in the word. It goes about the ties between the leader of the developed world and the largest developing country. The interdependence of the two countries is enormous. The crisis has proved that the economies of China and the USA are strongly connected with each other. The commodity circulation between the USA and China reaches an astronomical number – over $330 billion.

Will Obama’s remarks on democracy affect his visit in China?

“Most likely, they won’t affect anything. They were just official clichés which US officials say periodically. It was a constructive speech indeed, without any attacks against China. It seems that Obama’s statements were addressed to some US officials, who criticize him for being too mild with China.

“I have to say that the Chinese attach immense importance to Obama’s visit to their country. Many Chinese newspapers wrote that Obama had become the first leader, who visited China during the first year of his presidency.

But there are serious discrepancies though, aren’t there?

“The USA has more claims to China than China has to the USA. The Americans are certain that such notions as democracy, free election and freedom of speech are equally important for each and every nation. The Chinese administration, though, has its own opinion about it.

“There are considerable economic differences – in the field of trade, first and foremost. America believes that China artificially lowers prices on its goods. Americans often introduce restrictive measures against Chinese goods. China has reasons for concerns: the nation has executed all conditions connected with the incorporation in the World Trade Organization.

“The USA also demands China should raise the level of the yuan - the national currency - claiming that the current level gives advantages to China’s foreign trade. China has a huge positive balance with all Western countries indeed. However, it does not comply with the demand. The Chinese understand that it will be very difficult for them to modernize the nation without the US market and US technologies.

“All these and other issues will not make China worsen its relations with the USA. There are people in China who hate the United States, but they are those who love America. China’s leaders understand that stable ties with Washington will help them solve the problem with Taiwan, for instance.”

Interview prepared by Vadim Trukhachev

Read the original in Russian

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov