OXFORD, England -- China seems to be trying to "create facts on the ground" -- what Admiral Harry Harris, the US commander in the Pacific, calls a new "great wall of sand." The U.S. response is designed to prevent China from creating a fait accompli that could close off large parts of the South China Sea. Nevertheless, the original policy of not becoming embroiled in the sovereignty dispute continues to make sense.
Many in China perceive that the United States has not, and never will, accept the fundamental political legitimacy of the Chinese administration because it is not a liberal democracy. There is also a deeply held, deeply "realist" Chinese conclusion that the U.S. will never willingly concede its status as the pre-eminent regional and global power, and will do everything within its power to retain that position.
BEIJING -- The fact that China and the U.S. have agreed to pursue the goal of denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula has kept the issue from getting out of control. The year 1950 witnessed violent confrontation between China and U.S. in the Korean theater, but 2015 is a long way from 1950. China-U.S. cooperation has been a significant factor in keeping the lid on this conflict.
BEIJING -- In the Western media, the National People's Congress -- China's legislative body -- is perfunctorily conjoined with the phrase "rubber stamp." This characterization is less and less true every year and does a disservice to understanding the most significant historic shift taking place in China today: the long march toward "rule according to law" from administrative fiat.
In the absence of a common narrative shared by the U.S. and China, the two nations are likely to drift more rapidly apart. The relationship needs a new strategic concept for the future that is capable of sufficiently embracing both American and Chinese realities, as well as areas of potential common endeavor for the future, and to do so in language which is comprehensible and meaningful in both capitals. Trust builds on itself just as distrust builds on itself as well, compounding into deep enmity over time.
SEOUL -- With the U.S. economy yet to recover fully from the global economic crisis, and American politics increasingly dysfunctional, there is a global power vacuum that China, with shrewd diplomacy and economic might, hopes to fill -- beginning in Asia. This may not yet mean Asia for only the Asians; but it could mean a reduced regional role for the U.S. -- especially as America turns inward during the presidential election season that starts this year.