A food safety factory shutdown has Americans hunting for baby formula. Readying themselves for a covid-19 lockdown, Chinese in Beijing emptied store shelves. Emerging from lockdown, some in Shanghai are visiting well-provisioned markets. U.S.-China agricultural trade is booming, but many are still being left hungry. Food security, sustainability and safety remain issues.
U.S. Dep. Secretary of State John D. Negroponte, "U.S.-China Relations in the Era of Globalization," May 15, 2008
Hearing Before the Committee on Foreign Relations United States Senate One Hundred Tenth Congress Second Session
The Honorable John D. Negroponte
Department of State
We continue to express our support to the Chinese people for a successful Olympic Games. At the same time, we emphasize to Chinese leaders the importance of making progress on issues that matter to the American people.
These issues span the subjects of global security, human rights, the environment and trade. In some areas we have been able to develop common approaches with the Chinese; in others we remain far apart. That there exist substantial policy differences should come as no surprise, given the two countries’ very different demographic and economic conditions, histories and political systems. Nonetheless, our constant objective is to engage with an increasingly influential China to shape the current and future choices that Chinese leaders make in ways that serve global stability and U.S. interests. China is, after all, a permanent member of the UN Security Council. It possesses one of the world’s largest and most dynamic economies. It is a nuclear power, and it is the seat of a great civilization. U.S.-China strategic cooperation is in our mutual interest.
I would like to address three dimensions of our engagement with China that are central to our relationship: maintaining peace and stability in Asia; motivating China’s positive contributions to global stability, and encouraging China’s greater respect for human rights and freedom of expression.
I will not speak about trade, energy, and the environment, other than to say that they are key topics of our government’s engagement with the Chinese and that such engagement has produced positive results.
Dr. Richard Haass
Council on Foreign Relations
New York, NY
The basic contours of the new century are already visible. Unlike the twentieth century, which started out as a multipolar world dominated by a few, became after World War II a bipolar world dominated by two countries, and ended up mostly a unipolar reflection of American primacy, the twenty-first century is nonpolar. Ours is a world characterized not by the concentration of power but by its distribution. The United States is and will remain first among unequals, but there are and will be many more independent actors, state and non-state alike, possessing meaningful power in one form or another than at any other time in modern history.
But if the structure of today’s world is clear, its character is not. A nonpolar world is already a reality, but it is not certain whether it turns out to be the sort of world where most people live in peace, enjoy prosperity, and experience freedom. Again, the trajectory of the U.S.-China relationship will help determine how this century unfolds.
The signature challenges of this era will be posed by globalization. Globalization is the increasing volume, velocity, and importance of flows within and across borders of people, ideas, greenhouse gases, manufactured goods, dollars, Euros, television and radio signals, drugs, guns, emails, viruses, and a good deal else. The challenges that result from globalization are many, and include the spread of nuclear materials and weapons and associated delivery systems, climate change, impediments to trade and capital movement, pandemics, drugs, and terrorism.
Dr. Kurt Campbell
Chief Executive Officer
The Center for a New American Security
The epicenter of global power is no longer the Atlantic but the Pacific. China’s ascent has arguably been one of the most rapid and consequential in history, in many ways rivaling or even surpassing the significance of America’s rise in stature during the first two decades of the last century. Rarely in history has a rising power gained such prominence in the international system at least partially because of the actions of – and at the expense of – the dominant power, in this case the United States. The arrival of the Pacific century has hastened challenges to American influence and power in the greater Asia-Pacific.
From India to Australia, Asia, more than any other part of the globe, is defined by opportunity: democracy continues to spread beyond the traditional outposts of Japan and South Korea; the continent now accounts for almost 30 percent of global GDP; and the world’s most wired and upwardly mobile populations are Asian. Asian visitors to the U.S. now often complain about the poor quality of American wired networks when compared with the dramatic innovations of on-line and mobile communication in Asia.
Home to more than half the world’s population, Asia is the manufacturing and information technology engine of the world...
Yet Asia is not a theater of peace: between 15 and 50 people die every day from causes tied to conflict, and suspicions rooted in rivalry and nationalism run deep. The continent exhibits every traditional and non-traditional challenge of our age: a cauldron of religious and ethnic tension; a source of terror and extremism; the driver of our insatiable appetite for energy; the place where the most people will suffer the adverse effects of global climate change; the primary source of nuclear proliferation; and the most likely arena for nuclear conflict. Importantly, resolution and management of these challenges will prove increasingly difficult – if not impossible – without strong U.S.-Chinese cooperation.
Dr. Harry Harding
University Professor of International Affairs
The Elliott School of International Affairs
The George Washington University
Along with our policies of engaging China in regular and robust negotiations on bilateral issues, hedging against the risks inherent in China’s uncertain future, and promoting a peaceful evolution of the relationship across the Taiwan Strait, encouraging China to become a "responsible stakeholder" in international affairs has become one of the central elements in present American policy toward China.
Our goal of seeing China become a "responsible stakeholder" in the international system is an extension and updating of the Clinton Administration’s earlier policy of integrating China into the international order. The policy of integration reflected the assumption that our objectives with regard to China could be better served, and the predictability of China’s international and domestic conduct increased, if China were brought into the full range of international regimes for which it was qualified, as well as extensively integrated into the global economy. The most obvious example of this policy was the long, difficult, but ultimately successful negotiations over China’s membership in the World Trade Organization. But there are other examples as well: securing Chinese endorsement of the norms that govern non-proliferation and human rights, supporting China’s membership in regional economic and security organizations, and even the decision to endorse Beijing’s bid to host this year’s Summer Olympic Games.
But now, China has become a member of virtually all international organizations, excepting primarily only those that require members to be developed economies ... And, as the levels of trade and capital flows to and from China so amply demonstrates, China has certainly become a major participant in the global economy. The process of China’s formal integration into the international system has been largely completed.
The issue now, as [Robert] Zoellick rightly suggested, is no longer securing China’s membership in the international system, but encouraging it to become a "responsible stakeholder." By this is meant not only honoring the rules and norms of the system, but also enforcing the norms when others violate them, and assisting those who wish to join the system but lack the capacity to do so. It involves active participation, not simply passive membership. It entails accepting the burdens and responsibilities of being a major power with a stake in international peace and stability, rather than being a free rider on the efforts of others.
China has reacted to the concept of "responsible stakeholding" with some ambivalence. On the one hand, Beijing appreciates that, in calling on it to become a "responsible stakeholder," the U.S. is seeking a positive relationship with China. The concept suggests that the U.S. can accept – and even welcome – the rise of Chinese power and Beijing’s growing role in the world if it acts responsibly. The Bush Administration’s view of China as a prospective stakeholder in the international system as expressed in 2005 is certainly preferable to its view of China as a strategic competitor of the United States as expressed during the early months of the administration’s first term in 2001.
However, Beijing also perceives, largely correctly, that America’s more accommodative posture is conditional. China will be expected to honor international norms and respect international organizations that it did not create and that it may sometimes question. And, even more worrying from Beijing’s perspective, is the prospect that the United States is reserving the right to be the judge of whether or not Chinese behavior on particular issues is sufficiently "responsible."