China News Analysis: Improving Relationships?

Our friends over at bring us another great breakdown of breaking news on China.

This time, multiple sources are looked at to see how the overall relationship between China and the US is being positioned. If perception is reality, then this summarize the perceptions being promoted by the media outlets.


[NOTE: Full transcript is provided below.]


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The Association of Southeast Asian Nations — or ASEAN — is in the middle of its first Defense Ministers’ Meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam, with U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in attendance. Reports coming out of the closed-door meeting indicate a warming relationship between the United States and China, which had suspended high-level military communication in January over an arms deal between the U.S. and Taiwan.

We’re analyzing coverage from The U.S. Defense Department, The Wall Street Journal, Voice of America and The Washington Post.

The U.S. has found itself — crossways with China on a number of issues, from arms to territorial disputes China has had with several neighboring countries. The U.S. has taken a hard-line stance, but this week, that softened a bit. In a U.S. Defense Department release, Gates is quoted as saying,

“The United States does not take sides on competing territorial claims, such as those in the South China Sea… Competing claims should be settled peacefully, without force or coercion, through collaborative diplomatic processes, and in keeping with customary international law.”

Part of the dispute in the South China Sea is over a string of natural resource-rich islands claimed by several nations, including smaller countries like Vietnam who want U.S. support in the face of China’s dominance in the area. (Video: Wall Street Journal)

Voice of America interviews a former U.S. Foreign Service Officer who says the U.S. is in a complex position on the issue.

“China and the United States have a relationship that is very, very important, and I don’t think that’s going to be disrupted… I think we’re quite confident of the nature and scope of American influence and power in Southeast Asia and China should be part of the equation there.”

An analyst for the Wall Street Journal explains how Gates went about handling this complex task — noting his very presence at the meeting was a big show of U.S. support.

“By not inflaming things too much, because as much as there is friction in the region, Japan and other countries don’t want the U.S. kind of bowling in and making things worse. A third thing that he did, Adam, was he didn’t really roll back anything that the U.S. has said about China or about the region in recent weeks.”

Finally, the Washington Post says China’s counterpart to Secretary Gates attempted to calm fears of China’s naval aggression, such as the recent arrest of nine Vietnamese fishermen in disputed waters. He is quoted as saying,

“China’s defense development is not aimed to challenge or threaten anyone, but to ensure its security and promote international and regional peace and stability … Security of a country relies not only on self-defense capabilities, but also on mutual trust with others.”

Chinese officials have invited Secretary Gates to Beijing for a meeting which is expected to take place early next year.


One Response to “China News Analysis: Improving Relationships?”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Elie Levasseur, Eric Olander 欧瑞克. Eric Olander 欧瑞克 said: Sino-US relations are fraying in some areas. News analysis on China Talking Points about what can be done to fix ties: […]

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