Will Biden's visit turn a new leaf for China-U.S. ties?

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, August 17, 2011
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Under the shadow of U.S. debt and noises about arms sales to Taiwan, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled to visit China from Aug. 17 to 22.

Chinese analysts expect Biden's China tour will add to the momentum started by President Hu Jintao's state visit to the United States early this year.

During Hu's U.S. visit in January, both countries committed to building a cooperative partnership based on mutual respect and benefits to promote their common interests and to address the 21st century's opportunities and challenges.

Hu's visit to the United States got bilateral ties back on track and triggered a number of interactions between high-ranking officials from the world's two largest economies.

In April, Chinese State Councilor Liu Yandong visited the United States and co-chaired with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton the second annual high-level China-U.S. Consultation on People-to-People Exchange.

In May, the third round of the China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue was held in Washington, attended by Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan, State Councilor Dai Bingguo, Clinton and U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, among other senior government officials from both sides.

And then General Chen Bingde, chief of the Chinese People's Liberation Army General Staff and U.S. Navy Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, made reciprocal visits respectively to each other's countries in May and July.

"Leaders of the two nations have attached more importance and made more efforts to manage the bilateral ties between China and the United States," said Ni Feng, a scholar with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, adding that the frequent interactions helped prevent the disputes between the two countries from escalating and destroying the bilateral ties.

U.S. Debt, arms sales likely on agenda

Now, the question is: will Biden's six-day official visit to China erect a seawall for bilateral ties so they can't be badly impacted by the looming election campaign in the United States?

History shows that China-related issues are easy targets for U.S. politicians from both political parties and the bilateral relationship tends to fall prey to their mud-slinging.

The issue of U.S. arms sales to Taiwan is a tool often used by some lawmakers to make noises and catch attention.

The 2012 general election will likely be no exception. Some U.S. lawmakers have already started lobbying and pressuring the Obama administration to sell F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan. Media reports say that the U.S. government will announce its decision by Oct. 1.

"As a renowned U.S. statesman, Biden is clear about the Taiwan issue as well as the bilateral ties between China and the United States," said Yuan Peng, a scholar with the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

Biden was elected as senator for the first time in 1972 and has visited China in 1979 and 2001.

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