Foreign Policy

In his 2015 State of the Union, President Obama repeatedly mentioned China, made forceful proposals to improve the economy for the middle-class, and warned against any attempt to repeal his signature legislation and executive actions.

President Obama’s sixth State of the Union (SOTU) address was heavy on domestic policy and light on foreign policy. The president did not talk much about recent progress in the US-Chinese relations. Instead, he focused on the urgency to complete the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement – without China. There is a reason to the omission and the focus: the Obama White House is increasingly concerned over its legacy.

The recent State of the Union speech by President Obama didn’t underscore the critical importance of strengthened U.S. – Asia cooperation and engagement. Curtis Chin suggests that Obama could have more clearly clarified the Pivot to Asia, security issues in the South China Sea, and that increasingly America’s security and prosperity is linked to China and Asia.


By not emphasizing security differences with Beijing, President Barack Obama’s State-of-the-Union address made evident his general satisfaction with the success of his China policies.

China's rise

Chen Jimin explains the four principle aspects of China’s new approach to foreign policy, called “major-power diplomacy,” which entails agenda setting, strategy promotion, and flexibility.


The “Pivot to Asia” policy has been primarily driven by cold war and military conceptions of containing China’s rise. President Obama’s recent State of the Union speech kept with a distinctly American theme of soft-imperialism with mention of “writing the rules” to free trade agreements in Asia, instead of acknowledging China’s own sovereignty.

It is my hope that the Obama administration will leave a satisfactory legacy in promoting US-China relations by enhancing mutual strategic trust and pragmatic cooperation between the two nations.

China-Latin America

The China-CELAC Forum in January adopted institutional cooperation between Beijing and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). China’s foreign cooperation and economic development trend has allowed China to introduce new standards for international diplomacy.

Obama’s announcement to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba is not an absolute opening of trade, which is still privileged to U.S. agro-export, telecommunication, and financial industries. China on the other hand is Cuba’s second largest importer, with investments in petroleum, tourism, nickel, and infrastructure – all of which could prove beneficial once American firms and consumers are allowed to enter the Cuban economy.

The U.S. has long sought China’s support in containing North Korea, but China accuses the U.S. for contributing to the sense of insecurity through its military exercises in the region. Doug Bandow argues that Washington and its allies should consider an alternative approach and together develop a comprehensive proposal for a grand bargain.

Promoting peace and stability in Africa, and strengthening security cooperation with Africa has been an important pillar of China-Africa cooperation in recent years.

In 2015, ASEAN will continue to pursue its priority objective of creating an ASEAN community. As China sees it, the creation of a China-ASEAN community with a shared destiny now stands at a new historical starting point. China will advance and be proactive in its diplomacy. What will ASEAN choose?

In 2013, the Sino-US relations ended with concern over strategic mistrust. In 2014, bilateral relations were characterized by a sense of optimism. While bilateral trust may endure through the Obama era, challenges will ensue thereafter.

China supported the move to restore U.S-Cuba diplomatic relations and urges the U.S. to further lift its trade embargo. The thaw in relations with Cuba can also inform the China-U.S. relationship, though Obama will face some challenges from the new Republican congress.


Cui Liru describes a transforming international picture of national power relations, one that is moving toward a multipolar world of influence. In order to avoid the possibilities or true confrontation, China must more clearly realize what it wants to achieve in the world, and also needs to imagine what a peaceful coexistence with the U.S. would look like.

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