1 marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of Sino-American diplomatic
ties, one of the most crucial bilateral relationships in the world. The event
received little media attention in China, as the country's government waits to
see how the incoming Obama administration will treat the Asian giant.
The main Chinese media dispatch marking the 30th anniversary of
Sino-American relations Thursday came from Xinhua. The low-key commentary was
titled "China-US relations on path toward greater progress."
said the two countries have made substantial progress in developing what it
called a "constructive partnership." But it gave no details on where the
relationship should go in the future.
Chinese President Hu Jintao did not
mention the United States in his New Year's address, which was broadcast
repeatedly on state television.
However, in a separate speech Wednesday,
which also was broadcast extensively throughout China, President Hu talked about
a related issue - Taiwan.
Mr. Hu says there can only be mutual political
trust when Beijing and Taipei reach a common understanding of the so-called "one
China" framework. As long as there is mutual
political trust, he says,
anything can be discussed.
established diplomatic relations with Beijing in 1979, only after it dropped
ties with Taipei.
Taiwan has been separately-governed since the end of
the Chinese civil war in 1949. China considers Taiwan part of Chinese territory
and has vowed to use force, if necessary, to
keep the island from declaring
Beijing-based American professor of Chinese affairs,
Russell Leigh Moses, says the Taiwan issue has been one of the major
distractions that have hindered better development of the
"I think there's too much of a focus perhaps on Taiwan, on
Tibet, on momentary events that trigger problems, trigger troubles in the
relationship. In fact, the relationship itself has to be re-thought," said
Moses says the future course of what he sees as the most crucial
relationship in the world should not be based only on problem-solving. He says
the two countries need to work out a
clear set of expectations, to avoid
misunderstandings that can lead to confrontation.
"Too many times, we
have, as the Chinese saying goes, "same bed, very separate dreams," he said.
"Expectations are simply not the same. There has to be a very clear line drawn
between what we'd like to do and how we want to get there, on both
Moses says he thinks the dearth of Chinese media attention to the
occasion has to do with Beijing's uncertainty about the new Obama
Administration. He says the Chinese government is taking a wait-and-see
For Chinese scholars, one focus is how economically
interdependent the United States and China have become.
international studies professor at Beijing's Renmin University, says this is why
he believes future Sino-American disputes will not involve Taiwan, but will
instead focus on trade.
Shi says other potential issues of Sino-American
conflict include human rights, Tibet and the environment.
professor also voices another sentiment that is gaining in acceptance in China -
namely that the financial crisis is further indication that the United States is
declining. He says many believe that at the same time, China is rising, and so
the Chinese government is interested in preventing any big domestic problems
that could hinder the country's global ascent.