Bill Zhang

Saturday, November 26, 2005

How is everything in Harbin?

Everyone knows the tragedy happened in north east China city Harbin last few days. I found one website which is following the accident every day.Let's hope all the best to people in Harbin.

  • China environmental news
  • Sunday, November 20, 2005

    The "third wave" in China-US relations

    The China-US relations have traversed a course over 30 years. It is by no means a smooth journey but full of twists and turns.

    Upon reflection, one may say the relations actually met three waves:

    The first wave: China visit by Richard Milhous Nixon.

    As a matter of fact, the China-US ties started from a low ebb. After the founding of P.R. China in 1949, the US Department of State issued a "while paper" giving a bitter account on why the United States lost China. Chairman Mao Zedong responded by writing the article ""Farewell, Leighton Stuart!" The ties remained frozen ever since.

    International situation changes, however. By the year 1972, China had long been in bad terms with what once been its "big brother", the Soviet Union, while the United States was getting a lower hand in its fight against this same superpower. It is precisely out of the need of containing the Soviet Union that China and the United States found their point of common interest. President Nixon seized the opportunity and paid China an "ice-breaking" tour, which resulted in strategic agreement between the two sides and formed a strategic triangle among the three. This initiated the first wave of Sino-US ties, which lasted until the late 1980s.

    The second wave: during the late Clinton administration.

    The China-US relations, if we say normalized through Nixon's visit, constantly lacked a strategic tone. The ties, after surviving Lee Teng-hui's US visit in 1995, climbed out of the bottom bit by bit, but headed for an unclear direction. Things turned better when, following former president Jiang Zemin's visit to the United States, president Clinton returned a visit and the two countries reached an agreement to "construct strategic partnership". This historical event directly led to the second wave in the history of China-US ties, until ties were plunged again to the bottom when the United States bombed the Chinese embassy in Yugoslavia in 1999 spring.

    The third wave: post "September 11".

    The happening of "September 11" crated an opportunity for improving relations. Washington needed Chinese help in its fight against terror and Beijing responded. As a result, as former Secretary of State Colin Powell put it, the China-US relationship was "at the best period since the establishment of diplomatic relations".

    No doubt, during the third wave there are also friction and setbacks. A wide-spread argumentation is that China, taking advantage of US terror fight, launched attacks in all directions and slipped into Africa and South America to "nip away" US interests, and it will strengthen itself and pose a threat to the United States. Hence the "containment" theory.

    Meanwhile, some other Americans argue that China's development is an opportunity not only for the United States but for the world as a whole. Hence the "opportunity" theory, especially in economic and trade areas.

    In fact, this is only on the surface. Here the deeper reason is, along with the advancement of globalization, both China and the United States are deeply involved into each other in political and economic fields, forming a new type inter-dependence and therefore generating a strong driving force from inside to push forward the relations.

    It is from this facet that we see the third round of surging tide. It is in nature unlike the previous two rounds. The first two are temporary and relations could sour at any time or even immediately once the basis for cooperation vanishes; while the third one is perpetual since both sides have been deeply involved into the tide of globalization. This is crystal clear considering the intensive China visits by US high-level officials in recent two months.

    Therefore, we have good reason to believe that this new wave of China-US ties is bound to be heading for a long-term, positive direction, and is sure to push the relations to a new high.