US-China relations: The Obama-Xi California Summit
Kenneth G. Lieberthal, 3 June 20013
People are eyeing the upcoming California Summit with avid interest. For Asian scholars, what is most important is how the two major powers tackle Asia in the future. Lieberthal discusses it succinctly. For other details read: http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/up-front/posts/2013/06/03-us-china-relations-obama-xi-california-summit-lieberthal
Stability in Asia: Asia, the central region for U.S.-China interaction, has been an arena of growing U.S.-China tension and distrust in the past few years. President Obama sees the US rebalance (“pivot”) to Asia as having China at its center but not as taking China as its bull’s eye. The rebalance is a region wide integrated economic, diplomatic, and military strategy to assure long term Asian peace and economic progress with full American participation in both generating and benefitting from that outcome. China is at the center of Asia; inevitably, any regional strategy will have China at its center. But that is very different from the understanding of many Chinese that this strategy is targeted against China and seeks to complicate, slow down, and perhaps even disrupt China’s rise. The California meeting is a critical opportunity for President Obama to explain America’s strategy and goals.
Xi Jinping needs to lay out his own core priorities in the region and how he anticipates handling such key issues as maritime territorial disputes. Xi has played a very active role in shaping China’s regional actions over the past year, and it is important for him to convey how he sees both next steps and longer term objectives.