China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
August 26, 2015
Executive Summary: Relations between Beijing and Washington manifest themselves in many areas of long-term policy. Crisis management mechanisms must be established. So must mechanisms for dialogue and cooperation. These are the most urgent tasks for the Obama Xi meeting. Beijing and Washington must work together toward harmony and a win-win relationship. No one-man show will ever solve their problems.
Full Text Below:
Mainland Chinese President Xi Jinping is about to depart on his first state visit to the United States. Beijing-Washington relations remain a mystery. The Obama Xi meeting remains full of variables.
In early February, White House national security adviser Susan Rice revealed that Xi Jinping would visit the US. Since then, Beijing and Washington have clashed repeatedly. In July, Beijing enacted a "National Security Law" and "Offshore NGO Management Law", raising eyebrows within the international community. Beijing's controls over the media and public speech are increasingly strict. Online and NGO activists have often been subject to interrogation, house arrest, even imprisonment, provoking a backlash in US public opinion. Americans have converged on the official White House web site and petitioned Obama to cancel Xi Jinping's visit. Think tank scholars have appealed to Washington to suspend the content free Obama Xi meeting.
The eve of the Obama Xi meeting is filled with an atmosphere of confrontation. Washington may be hoping to gain bargaining chips. Beijing and Washington are at loggerheads with each other over human rights. Their tit for tat is nothing new. In theory, it poses no obstacle to an Obama Xi meeting. The United States' deterrent actions against Mainland Chinese land reclaimation on islands and reefs in the South China Sea did not have the desired effect. The United States should not rush to cancel the Xi Jinping visit. It should instead attempt to ease tensions in East Asia.
The Obama Xi meeting is a major event for the PRC and USA. A tempest in a teapot is unlikely to affect bilateral relations. US State Department spokesman John Kirby recently said that the United States has yet to receive an official invitation for President Obama to attend the WWII 70th anniversary parade in Beijing. His implication was that if Beijing issued an invitation, Washington would consider participating. Kirby's statement established a friendly atmosphere for the Beijing-Washington meeting, and revealed that the Obama Xi meeting would be held as scheduled.
Beijing and Washington are having great difficulty establishing a new great power relationship. The obstacles are difficult and varied. Old issues persist. New issues arise. The Obama Xi meeting will test Beijing-Washington relations. The key remains how to narrow the differences between Beijing and Washington. The RMB continues to depreciate. Beijing has completed its "fox hunt" for officials who fled to the United States. The Mainland's human rights record continues to deteriorate, and is becoming a thorny issue that the Obama Xi meeting will have to face.
Mainland China is adhering to its path of peaceful development. It is also defending its core interests. Beijing must cope with the global economy, network security, climate change, financial reform, and international terrorism. It is fully prepared to cooperate with the United States. But on sovereignty or territorial disputes, it has absolutely no room for compromise. Xi Jinping's new great power relationship between Mainland China and the US requires respect for each other's core interests and strategic concerns.
Clashes between Beijing and Washington are due mainly to the yawning chasm between the two sides' political values and strategic interests. The US criticizes Mainland China for manipulating its currency, but tolerates the Abe government's quantitative easing. Washington supports Beijing's anti-corruption policies, but refuses to sign an extradition treaty. The US claims it will not provide a safe haven for criminals from any nation, but persistently makes the repatriation of criminals to Mainland China difficult. Recently it even issued a stern warning against Mainland Chinese agents conducting "fox hunting" operations in the United States.
Beijing and Washington agreed to the inclusion of human rights and Taiwan issues in the September Obama Xi meeting. Obviously this was the result of each side sticking to its guns. A new round of human rights talks was held in Washington in mid-August. Beijing and Washington failed to reach a consensus on judicial reform, religious freedom, or racial discrimination. Beijing recently proposed "Three Things to Avoid", namely, double standards, politicization, and "microphone diplomacy", criticizing US human rights policy double standards.
The issue of Taiwan has become part of the Obama Xi meeting agenda, mainly due to changes in Taiwan's internal situation. It shows that Beijing is concerned about the increasing arrogance displayed by Taiwan independence elements. In early August, Zhang Zhijun, director of the Mainland's Taiwan Affairs Office issued a statement Speaking from Changchun, Jilin, Zhang said the 1992 Consensus means "Taiwan and the Mainland are both part of one China". In mid-August, while visiting the United States, Zhang said relations across the Strait are at a crossroads. One road adheres to the 1992 Consensus, and ensures peaceful development. The other attempts to turn back the clock, and takes the mistaken path toward Taiwan independence. He was warning the DPP that "different choices will lead to different outcomes."
Zhang Zhijun's voice was calm. But it hinted at severe difficulties in future cross-Straits relations. The Obama Xi meeting will inevitably prompt the White House to reaffirm its commitment to its One China Policy and the "three Sino-US joint communiques", and even underscore Wahington's support for the 1992 Consensus, the very thing the DPP wishes to avoid.
Relations between Beijing and Washington manifest themselves in many areas of long-term policy. Crisis management mechanisms must be established. So must mechanisms for dialogue and cooperation. These are the most urgent tasks for the Obama Xi meeting. Beijing and Washington must work together toward harmony and a win-win relationship. No one-man show will ever solve their problems.
中美摩擦和碰撞就層出不窮。7月間北京頒布新的《國安法》 及制定《境外非政府組織管理法》的舉動，引起國際社會側目。 北京對媒體與民眾言論的管控愈趨嚴厲，網路、非政府組織、 維權人士動輒被約談、軟禁及入獄，激起美國輿論的反彈。 美國民眾連結白宮網站請願，要求歐巴馬取消習近平訪美， 智庫學者更呼籲華府暫停沒有實質意義的「歐習會」。
中美因人權問題針鋒相對，非起於今日，理論上不構成「歐習會」 的障礙。美國針對中國在南海島礁填土造陸所採取的軍事嚇阻行動， 亦未產生預期效果，此刻美國應無貿然取消習近平來訪的理由， 遑論緩解東亞的緊張情勢。
茶壺裡的風暴尚不致於影響雙邊的競合關係。 美國務院發言人柯比最近公開表示， 美方並未收到北京邀請歐巴馬總統出席抗戰70周年閱兵活動的正式 函件，意味如果中方邀請，華府就會考慮採取何種參與方式。 柯比的話語或為營造中美峰會的友好氛圍，卻透露了「歐習會」 如期舉行。
新的問題接踵而至。「歐習會」可以測試中美關係的熱度和走勢， 關鍵仍在於中美如何緩解分歧與摩擦。這段時間人民幣持續走貶、 令完成潛逃美國、中方海外「獵狐」行動、中國人權紀錄退步， 都會成為「歐習會」必須面對的棘手問題。
北京面對全球經濟、網路安全、氣候變化、金融改革、 國際反恐等議題，充分呈現與美方合作的態度， 涉及主權或領土爭端問題，即毫無妥協空間。 習近平眼裡的中美新型大國關係， 前提要件是彼此尊重對方的核心利益和戰略關注焦點。
雙方的政治價值觀和戰略利益認知差距過大。 美國批評中國操縱人民幣匯率， 卻容忍日本安倍政府的貨幣量化寬鬆政策； 華府支持北京的反腐政策，卻無意和中國簽訂引渡條約； 美國自稱不是任何國家罪犯的避風港， 但又處處刁難中國遣返罪犯的要求， 最近更嚴厲警告中國特工在美國的「獵狐」行動。
顯然是各自堅持的結果，前者顯示8月中旬華府召開的新一回合人權 對話，中美並未達成司法改革、宗教自由或種族歧視問題的共識。 北京最近再提「三個避免」（雙重標準、泛政治化、麥克風外交）， 就是批評美國人權政策的雙重標準。
也顯示北京對台獨氣燄高漲的憂慮。大陸國台辦主任張志軍8月上旬 在吉林長春明確表示，「九二共識」的核心意涵是「 台灣與大陸同屬一個中國」，8月中旬訪美時他再次提到， 兩岸關係正面臨兩條道路的選擇（堅持「九二共識」 延續和平發展之途；選擇「開歷史倒車，重回台獨邪路」）， 都是警示民進黨「不同的選擇會有不同的結果」。
可以預知的是。「歐習會」必然會促使白宮重申恪守「 一個中國政策」和「中美三個聯合公報」，甚至於挑明民進黨迴避「 九二共識」有違華府的一中立場。
未來如何妥善建立危機控管與良性對話合作機制，才是「歐習會」 的當務之急，終究中美和諧共贏需要雙方共同的努力， 獨腳戲永遠解決不了問題。