Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Hosting Chinese dissidents, trading arms to Taiwan, these are just some of the highlights this week which demonstrate the growing tension between Sino-U.S. relations. Many suspect Washington's involvement is a follow-up of the Bo Xilai scandal, which originated when his chief aid Wang Lijun sought refuge in a U.S. embassy. However, this is far from an individual incident. In the case of arms trade to Taiwan, the most recent transactions were an arms sales package in 2008, with an estimated worth of over $6 billion, followed by another $6 billion deal in 2010.Throughout the history of arms trade with Taiwan, the U.S. government also demonstrates the tendency to trade more in even numbered years instead of odd numbered years, namely the years with midterm elections. In election years, Republicans and Democrats alike take a tougher stance on foreign policies towards China. The main reason is catering to public opinion. The latest Gallup poll of US-China ties show only 13% of U.S. adults see China as an ally, lower than the 17% who demonstrate unfriendly views towards China, and far less than the 63% majority view of seeing China as friendly but not as an ally. Another Gallup poll shows 83% percent of Americans favor Japan, and 75% favor India, while only 41% favor China. U.S. is more likely to form an alliance with Japan, South Korea, and even Vietnam over China. What is the reason behind U.S. foreign policy of distancing China? Is the clash of ideology the reason which stands in the way of a closer alliance or an excuse to explain why China and the U.S. may never become true allies?