Sunday, May 8, 2011

Threats to the US-China Relationship

China released a “white paper” on March 31st accusing the United States of making the region more “volatile.” China claims that Washington’s web of alliances and military forces across Asia pose security challenges.  If China decides to act on them, these accusations could create potential economic problems for the U.S.

One way that China could react is by discontinuing the purchase of US treasury bonds, an action that would threaten the US economy and the ability of the U.S. government to function, as it relies on the sale of treasury bonds as a source of income. If that occurred, the U.S. government would likely raise interest rates to offset the loss of debt funding. Higher interest rates would slow the US economy, pushing the recession even farther “under the water.”

This economic scenario would only happen though if China viewed American actions as threatening. China has promised only to retaliate if the US threatens them – giving the US the opportunity to back down. According to University of Kansas International Relations Professor Anna M. Cienciala, China only sees states as threatening if they threaten China’s sovereignty by trying to intervene in China’s right to govern via communism or to claim Chinese territory.

China lists Taiwan, the Korean Peninsula, and Arunachal Pradesh as three of the major problem areas. In Taiwan and the Korean Peninsula, China fears the U.S. will threaten China’s communism by replacing communism in North Korea with democracy, which China sees as imperialism.  China sees American values of civil and political rights as corroding communist emphasis on economic and social rights. The U.S. remains adamant about not provoking conflict in Taiwan or the Korean Peninsula.

Arunachal Pradesh, a territory that borders Tibet, is viewed as problematic as well because China believes that India originally stole this territory from China. China claims that India will want to sovereignty over Tibet as well. Because the U.S. has been supplying weapons to India, China fears a potential invasion from India.  India though is reluctant to start a war with China, so this potential threat will likely not materialize.

Taiwan, the Korean Peninsula, and Arunachal Pradesh represent three potential obstacles to a strong US-China relationship. This analysis will further examine each of these threats to China’s sovereignty.

 Read more.

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