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Common Responsibilities of 'Stakeholders'
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US Deputy State Secretary Robert Zoellick came to China again on January 23 for a three-day visit. Besides Beijing, Zoellick also toured Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province in which he visited Chinese giant pandas and see himself the development in China's hinterland.


Zoellick played an important role in the development of Sino-American relations in 2005.


In his speech on America's China policy "Whither China: From Membership to Responsibility?" on September 21 last year, Zoellick put forward the idea that China is a "stakeholder" of the US in the current international system, and should take its responsibilities in the international affairs. This has set a comparatively reasonable and pragmatic tone for US China policy in the new era, guiding people in furthering Sino-US relations. It also helps alleviate the wave of "China threat."


Zoellick's point of view to some extent indicates American policy-makers' China view.


In a recent speech, US President George W. Bush said that the Chinese leaders had to secure jobs for 24 million people, while he himself has strained for four million jobs since assuming presidency. Bush was reminding Americans to try to understand the challenges China face in development.


In a speech delivered at Georgetown University, US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice put forward the concept of "transformational diplomacy," believing that the US should treat China's development from a new perspective and strengthen its diplomacy with China in line with cooperation between powers.


These insights show US policy-makers are embracing an increasingly pragmatic "China view" with a gradually deepening understanding about China. Therefore the second visit by Zoellick, one of US policymakers on China, shows that US government attaches strategic importance to pushing US-China relations forward.


Zoellick's visit coincides with the preparations for President Hu Jintao's visit to the US scheduled in spring.


Bush said he is looking forward to Hu's visit and he likes to have dialogue with his Chinese counterpart.


Zoellick extended US stance and delivered information on the realities facing current China-US relations -- security, non-proliferation, Iran, Northeast Asia and energy, etc. -- and major topics that will be addressed in the future, which is expected to be of help to the successful visit of the Chinese President to the US.


Zoellick's China tour is also conducive to the third round of Sino-US strategic dialogue.


By exchanging views on a sincere and friendly footing in August and November last year, representatives of the two countries have improved mutual trust, dissolved doubts and deepened mutual understanding, laying a more realistic groundwork for furthering Sino-US relations.


While the two sides are considering how to make the strategic dialogue continue, the visit of the deputy secretary of state, just at the right time, should be regarded as paving the way for boosting the strategic dialogues into a more in-depth level. No doubt, the third round of strategic dialogue will be an exchange of views on more tangible issues which will not only be raised but also partly be solved. Strategic, regional, energy and non-traditional security cooperation will be the new growth sectors for Sino-US relations.


Zoellick's visit to Japan after China will inevitably arouse media attention concerning China-US-Japan triangular relations.


Last September, Zoellick proposed that the three countries discuss historical issues together and he himself actively promoted it, people would naturally expect the United States could play a positive role in breaking the deadlock of Sino-Japanese relations.


Signs show a growing number of American officials and scholars have realized allowing the deteriorating Sino-Japanese relations would be unfavorable to the US in its interest in the Asia-Pacific region, even around the world. For this reason, people start to question whether action is needed to admonish Japan to shoulder its responsibility concerning historical issues. Zoellick once called on China to make herself a responsible stakeholder in the international community, and make a long list on China's duties. People are expecting that the US deputy secretary of state could, with an evenhanded gesture, urge Japan to play the same role.


(People's Daily January 26, 2006)

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