November 18, 2009 12:34
The meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jin-tao in Beijing was an opportunity to signal the beginning a new world order led by China and the U.S. During his four-day visit, Obama stressed that Beijing was a "powerful partner" in U.S. efforts to deal with global challenges. "A strong and prosperous China can be the source of strength for the international community and the United States will not seal China off," he said.
Even on the issue of Tibetan independence, Obama practically sided with China by saying, "We recognize that Tibet is part of the People's Republic of China." Gone are criticisms of Beijing's human rights abuses which previous U.S. presidents made during their visits to China. The U.S. and China both avoided any unpleasantness. "China's partnership has helped the United States pull out of the worst recession in a generation," Obama said.
The U.S. recorded a $1.4 trillion deficit over the last year starting in September of 2008, while the accumulated fiscal deficit amounts to 80 percent of its GDP. The U.S. government must continue issuing Treasury Bills in order to run the country. China is America’s largest creditor owning $800 billion worth of U.S. Treasury notes. The U.S. is no longer in a position to tell China what to do.
The North Korean nuclear standoff was the first issue where agreement was announced at the post-summit press conference. "We agreed on the importance of resuming the six-party talks as soon as possible," Obama said. "Both of us remain committed to resolving the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula through dialogue and consultation," Hu said. "Such a commitment serves the common interests of China and the United States and all other parties concerned."
Matters concerning the Korean Peninsula will become staple items on the agenda of future U.S.-China talks. Both countries have deep interests on the peninsula. In July, the U.S. government even proposed strategic talks with China to deal with sudden and unexpected changes happening in North Korea. The North Korean nuclear problem, Korean reunification and other issues will be discussed between Washington and Beijing and that will to a large extent determine how the international community acts.
There is no guarantee that the solutions offered either independently or jointly by the U.S. and China will always be in line with South Korea's interests and plans. As a new era dawns, Seoul's diplomatic strategies must change. It is time to go beyond the single-track approach and come up with a multi-layered plan.
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