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
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
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)