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181 Richard Baum is Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Los Angeles, and former director of the UCLA Center for Chinese Studies. He can be reached at . Zoellick’s Roadmap and the Future of U.S.-China Relations Richard Baum On September 21, 2005 Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick delivered a speech to the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations that painstakingly detailed the upside and downside—the yin and the yang—of the complex, often troubled relationship between the United States and China. Zoellick’s blunt and forthright policy address has produced aftershocks on two continents. Some have called the speech refreshingly candid, while others have deemed it needlessly demeaning and provocative. Analysts in both Washington and Beijing, regardless of where they fall in the dove/hawk divide, have painstakingly parsed Zoellick’s words in a search for cues and clues to the Bush administration’s future intentions. To a significant extent, this search for hidden meaning stems from the sharp divisions present within the Bush administration. Over the past five years, Washington has sent Beijing inconsistent and sometimes self-contradictory signals, ranging from dark hints of military containment to conditional assurances of comity and cooperation. Based upon widely differing premises, such conflicting signals—often accompanied by exaggerated posturing—have tended to confuse more than clarify Washington’s China policy. Small wonder, then, that a major China policy address by the administration’s second highest-ranking foreign policy spokesman should receive intense scrutiny from all sides. nbr analysis 182 Stated succinctly, Zoellick’s speech was a clear and direct statement regarding Washington’s complex hopes and concerns over the nature and global consequences of “China’s rise.” Beginning on a positive note, Zoellick stated that China’s post-Mao reforms and “opening up” have constituted a great contemporary success story. Seeking to allay mounting Chinese concerns that this very success has directly precipitated rising U.S. hostility, Zoellick reminded his audience that the United States has played a substantial , supportive role in facilitating China’s growth. According to Zoellick, the United States both recognizes and appreciates the important differences between China’s peaceful embrace of globalization and the more aggressive Cold War posture adopted by the former Soviet Union, adding that “China does not want a conflict with the United States.” Countering the argument that China and the United States are destined by the very logic of great power politics to become strategic competitors, he envisioned a future of potentially harmonious U.S.-China relations: Picture the wide range of global challenges we face in the years ahead—terrorism and extremists exploiting Islam, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, poverty, disease­ —and ask whether it would be easier or harder to handle those problems if the United States and China were co-operating or at odds. After outlining U.S. hopes for a more cooperative future, Zoellick noted that much of the international community has remained ambivalent—and more than a little anxious —regarding China’s rapid rise. Inviting Chinese leaders to see their country as outsiders do, the deputy secretary cautioned that although many countries hope China will pursue a “peaceful rise,” none are willing to bet their future on this possibility. As for U.S.-China relations, Zoellick suggested that a true concordance would depend upon the development of common values, and not merely parallel interests: “We have many common interests with China. But relationships built only on a coincidence of interests have shallow roots. Relationships built on shared interests and shared values are deep and lasting.” Zoellick went on to detail the reasons for mounting international concern and “hedging” toward China. He bluntly criticized a variety of Chinese behavior: the PRC’s opaque military objectives; Beijing’s half-hearted, insufficient efforts to adjust Chinese currency to international market rates; and China’s recent attempts to “lock up” global energy supplies. He further chastised Beijing for attempting to forge opportunistic ties with “troublesome states” such as the Sudan and Burma, for tolerating “rampant theft of intellectual property and counterfeiting” at home, and for the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) continued one-party political dictatorship. 183 “whither u.s.-china relations?” roundtable After cataloguing further examples of worrisome Chinese behavior at home and abroad, Zoellick went on to propose measures that China might adopt in order to allay the concerns held not only by the United States but also by the international community at large. Suggesting that China should “adjust its foreign...


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