Washington: Noting that China wants to be a global power, an Obama Administration official told lawmakers that the Chinese establishment is currently debating on the kind of relationship they need to have with an "established power" and other regional powers.
"China of course wants to play a global role. There`s no question about it. We do believe that it should play a responsible global role," the Acting Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Joseph Yun, told lawmakers during a Congressional hearing Thursday.
It was organised by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee`s Subcommittee on East Asia and Pacific Affairs.
"I believe that the most important debate that`s going on in China now is how a rising China that is a rising power globally should as well as regionally interact with an established power that`s the US, and how do they interact with other regional powers," Yun said in response to a question from the powerful Republican Senator Marco Rubio.
"Do they view us as an established power or a declining power?" Rubio asked.
"I would say they view us as an established power. In fact current President, Xi Jinping when came to Washington last year in February, that was at the heart of his agenda, to have a discussion on how a rising power should interact with an established power.
We welcome that discussion," Yun said.
Testifying before the Senate sub-committee, Ellen Bork, director, Democracy & Human Rights of the Foreign Policy Initiative, a Washington-based think-tank, said it is understandable that the Obama Administration is "careful" not to present its "rebalance" towards Asia as a challenge to China.
"On the other hand, the rebalance, in my view, can`t proceed effectively if we don`t address China as a major democracy and human rights problem.
China presents itself as an alternative model throughout the world, particularly in the region, and even as its own human rights record is deteriorating, by the administration`s own account," Bork said in response to a question.
Noting that the Chinese human rights policy, is lacking in a number of ways, Bork said not only should the United States be pursuing a more serious human rights policy toward China, it needs to join with other democracies in the region to advance democratic principles and find a way of coordinating in a multilateral way on such things.
Senator Benjamin Cardin, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Sub Committee on Asia Pacific said that America`s rebalance to Asia is not about containing China but, rather, includes building a constructive relationship with China.