Deeper relationship with China urged

Associated Press and Associated Press

WASHINGTON – A strategic think tank with close connections to the Obama administration is calling on the White House to develop better and broader relations with China.

The Center for a New American Security, in a study prepared by a panel of 10 academics, declared yesterday that the first principle of China policy should be: ‘China should not be treated as a threat.’

The center was co-founded two years ago by two now-high-ranked administration officials, Kurt Campbell, the assistant secretary of state for Asia, and Michele Flournoy, undersecretary of defense for policy. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao were meeting in New York yesterday.

China’s influence is increasingly global. The United States, consequently, ‘should make a concerted effort to engage China as a major partner in confronting global problems.’

These include, the study said, the economic crisis, climate change and energy security. At the same time, the two sides should be open and comfortably address issues of disagreement, the study said.

Thirty years after President Jimmy Carter established diplomatic relations with China and after a ground-breaking visit by President Richard M. Nixon, the United States ‘has been slow to articulate a comprehensive framework that moves beyond the simplistic,’ the study said.

In the meantime, it said, neo-conservatives advocate containment while isolationists try to adopt protectionist policies.

‘The truth of the matter is that the United States and China’s mutual interdependence is significant and continues to grow,’ the study said.

Over the last decade, economic and political relations between the United States and China have expanded, with bilateral trade topping $409 billion this year.

At a high-level meeting in July in Washington, the United States and China pledged closer cooperation to deal with global hot spots such as Iran and the worst financial crisis since the 1930s.

While Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner portrayed the talks as a positive development in relations, the list of accomplishments on the economics side basically reaffirmed steps both nations have already taken to deal with the financial crisis.

On foreign policy, there were no apparent breakthroughs although the countries pledged closer cooperation in dealing with the nuclear ambitions of North Korea and Iran.

Clinton conceded that differences remained in many areas such as human rights.

There have been differences over trade, as well, and China is resistant to major climate change proposals.

It has given its support to negotiations with North Korea over its nuclear weapons program and the fate of tougher sanctions on Iran over its nuclear activities could rest on the stand China takes at the United Nations.

The study coincides with the high-level meetings at the United Nations and meetings of the so-called G-20 nations later in the week in Pittsburgh.