A blue book on US research was released at an international symposium themed “Trends of US Domestic and Foreign Policy and Sino-US Relations” in Beijing on August 6. Chinese Academy of Social Sciences vice president Li Yang attended the symposium with Standing Committee member and chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Chinese National People's Congress Fu Ying, who delivered a keynote speech.
Blue Book of the United States: Annual Report on Research of U.S.A (2014) is based on US domestic and foreign policy in 2013. It found that US President Barack Obama’s second term was hampered by partisan polarization and divided government. Obama struggled with issues such as raising the federal debt ceiling, coping with the government shutdown in October 2013, opposition to Obamacare and leaking of intelligence by fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The political stalemate forced Obama to take an inward turn in his political agenda. Under such circumstances, the Obama administration is inclined to reduce its international commitments by withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan, negotiating an interim agreement with Iran over its nuclear program and reacting cautiously to unrest in Ukraine.
The US passed responsibility to global and regional allies for maintaining its international leadership image. This “multilateral retrenchment” strategy was characterized by the Obama administration relying more on diplomacy and less on the military to manage international and regional issues.
Addressing Sino-US relations, the blue book found that Chinese President Xi Jinping’s May 2013 meeting with Obama at the Sunnylands estate in California led the two countries to deepen political, economic and military ties.
The Obama administration’s Asia-Pacific rebalancing strategy not only further complicated security issues involving China, but also posed challenges for the two countries’ commitments in building a new type of major-power relationship.
Li said that Sino-US relations are central to international political and economic relations. After World War II, many mechanisms and institutions for global governance were established. Some have confronted serious challenges in recent years, especially since the 2009 global financial crisis. A vacuum of global governance has nonetheless resulted, requiring an adjustment in the global governance system and related mechanisms.
Both China and the US realize this situation and should bear major responsibility, but both countries are undergoing profound economic restructuring to cope with deep-seated domestic economic challenges.
Li called for enhancing cooperation, deepening understanding, and strengthening unity and communication between the two sides, so that both can share responsibility for the world.
Fu echoed Li’s sentiment by saying that better communication is not only needed at a strategic level, but also between people of the two countries to eliminate misunderstandings and foster consciousness and ability of cooperation in international and regional affairs.
She also added that the relationship between China, the world’s largest developing country, and the US, the world’s largest economy, draws great attention in international studies. Besides huge differences in political, cultural and economic backgrounds, the two countries also have distinctive thoughts on handling international affairs.
As major global cooperative partners with extensive areas of cooperation, it is necessary for China and the US to build a new type of relationship.
The Chinese version appeared in Chinese Social Sciences Today (CASS Issue), No. 260, Aug 15, 2014.
Translated by Du Mei
Revised by Tom Fearon