Foreign Policy

US President Barack Obama (R) and Chinese President Xi Jinping take a walk at the Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage, California, on June 8, 2013.

The state visit in Washington is a new chance for both sides to see the other differently, focusing on common achievements and respecting differences. To achieve that, the two presidents must reaffirm principles guiding the Sino-U.S. relationship and re-clarify their strategic intentions.

Seventy years ago, China and the U.S. fought side by side in World War II, and now have to work much more closely to provide public good for the world. Increasing cooperation on combating climate change was the most anticipated outcome of Xi Jinping’s state visit. Collaboration on clean technology, energy-sector reform, and energy security could contribute to the stability of the world’s economy and efforts in tackling climate change.


Political campaigns generally are not well-suited for the thoughtful discussion of complex, nuanced international issues. Lately, China has been a target of GOP pre-election attacks, and it should be known that there is a difference between coming across as tough, and bungling diplomacy all together.


Washington and Beijing consistently send mixed messages about how they see the world, each other and, indeed, themselves.

Although US willingness to engage China in the international system seems to be diminishing, the Chinese president’s upcoming state visit is an opportunity to get a new type of major-country relationship back on track. This will accumulate more positive energy if both countries seek functional cooperation in deferent spheres by practical and systematic means.

One of the major challenges for China’s leadership lies in enacting the rule of law by borrowing from Western principles while preserving China’s self-identity embodied in part in the Confucian ideology of the rule of virtue.

However unsavory the Victory Parade seems, the Chinese government is right to feel slighted by Prime Minister Abe of Japan. Using Mitsubishi Materials as an example, more Japanese companies should make conciliatory gestures for Japanese wartime conduct in exchange for continue economic benefits before the onset of a potential economic slowdown.

The Seventieth Anniversary of the victory of the Allies over Japan in the Second World War is now upon us. This War created tens of millions of victims, perhaps even as many as a couple of hundreds of millions, in Asia. I was one of the victims of the War, but a relatively lucky one. My parents lived in Hong Kong before the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbour.


Many China watchers believe that the ties between Beijing and Washington are at their lowest level since Tian’anment. President Xi can nevertheless reassure the American political establishment that he is leading China in the right direction, and not trying to turn it into another version of the former Soviet Union.

When playing up the mutually beneficial aspects of economic cooperation between the U.S. and China, many theorists often ignore the competitive and destabilizing elements introduced by structural economic concerns. The struggle for emerging markets and untapped resources is adversarial, and it may intensify as economic growth slows.


Chinese and Americans should not be surprised by our divergent approaches to both bilateral and global issues. The key to success is to seek common ground while tolerating differences in a partnership committed to peace and a new world order. Sometimes we ought to stand in the other’s shoes and take a more balanced view of the issues we both face.

For most of his administration, Obama’s foreign policy followed the disastrous course left by his predecessor combined with his desire to offend the least number of his Congressional critics. George Koo provides four suggestions for Obama to make a positive course correction.


Even on controversial issues, cooperation—instead of confrontation—is key to finding solutions.


Indecisive western responses to China’s military parade invitation are based ultimately on their profound worries about the potential impacts that China’s development will exert on the political and economic patterns of the present-day world.

Only when people with vision in Japan take positive actions, and the entire international community successfully urge Japan to adopt a correct reading of history, will Japan’s relations with its East Asian neighbors be able to move forward into an era of mutual trust and respect.

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