Washington: Ahead of President Hu Jintao`s state visit here next week, the US has said it is aware of apprehensions of Asian countries about emergence of an assertive China and insisted that it would take all necessary steps to protect their security interests while trying to develop its ties with Beijing.
This was stated by US National Security Adviser Tom Donilon during a White House briefing yesterday, while speaking on broad contours of the American relationship with the second largest economy of the world, ranging from Sino-US economic and military ties to global issues of North Korea and Iran and those related to human rights.
Donilon bifurcated the Sino-US ties in four baskets. "The first basket is clearly the overall relationship, its purpose, where are the areas of cooperation; do we have the right mechanisms in place; and again, and how we see that relationship developing over the next 10 and 15 and 20 years."
"We are going about this in a steady, careful, dynamic way. We are engaged in how to best pursue a positive, cooperative and contemplative relationship with China, pursuing our interests ... (that) we think are in the interest of the globe on so-called cross-cutting issues," he said.
The basket two would be the security and political issues, he said, adding that prominent among them are Iran, North Korea and Sudan; besides re- establishment of military-to-military relationship. "We have spent an enormous amount of time with the Chinese during the course of this administration and we`ve actually made quite a bit of progress."
The third basket includes economic issues. "There`s obviously the macroeconomic aspects, currency appreciation and rebalancing efforts that we`ve been working on bilaterally with the Chinese, but also in the context of multilateral organisations like the G20. There`s a whole basket of access issues, business practice issues," he said.
"Fourth basket is cross-cutting so called global issues of special concern. Human rights would fall into that category," Donilon said, adding that the US does raise these issues with China.
"The President stays well informed about the dynamics around these issues in China, and indeed asked for a set of outside experts to come in yesterday, as we said. Third, you saw the President speak out at the time that the Nobel Committee awarded (jailed Chinese dissident) Liu Xiaobo the Nobel Prize, and so speaking out publicly on these issues is also important," he noted.
Acknowledging that the US relationship with China is central to its policies in Asia Pacific and also for stability in that region, Donilon, without naming any country, said the US is aware of the apprehensions of other Asian nations about emergence of an assertive China and assured that it would take all necessary steps to protect their security interests, while trying to develop its ties with Beijing.
"We have as a strategic matter from the outset of this administration worked very hard to get great power relationships right, with positive, cooperative and comprehensive relationships, as we are seeking with China, with great powers. A lot is possible in terms of us pursuing our interests and in pursuing global interests," Donilon said.
"China is a very good example of that. We`ve concentrated on this very carefully and not to pursue the relationship just through summitry every year, every two years, but rather through a very intense and persistent engagement with the Chinese," he said.
The Obama administration is all set to extend a red-carpet welcome to Hu and Vice President Joe Biden, in a rare gesture, would himself greet him on his arrival at the Andrews Air Force Base on January 18.
That evening, Obama will host a small private dinner for Hu at the Old Family Dining Room of White House. Besides the President, the dinner will be attended by Donilon and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
"It`s a very unusually small dinner that we`ll have with President Hu, again reflecting the relationship that we are evolving, and the opportunity to have candid conversation in much less formal settings than you typically would see, frankly, in a meeting between the Chinese and the United States," he said.
The formal arrival ceremony is scheduled for January 19th on the South Lawn; and then a small bilateral in the Oval Office, the classic pattern and then an expanded bilateral meeting in the Cabinet Room.
"After the two bilateral meetings, the two Presidents -- President Obama and President Hu -- will then meet for about 45 minutes with US and Chinese business leaders and CEOs in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building across the way here," Donilon said, adding that the focus of that discussion will be
on ways to expand trade and investment opportunities between the two countries.
There will be American CEOs who have large interests and investments in China.
"I`m sure there will be discussion there about how American business can better do business in China, to talk about the access issues that are so very important and that (Treasury) Secretary (Timothy) Geithner talked about in his speech yesterday.”
"The Chinese CEOs from prominent Chinese companies who have investments in the United States will talk about their activities here, and how they came to make those investments and create jobs in the United States," Donilon said.
Hu will also visit Chicago during his US visit.