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U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is in Tokyo today for talks with the Japanese Prime Minister and other top officials. On the agenda: North Korea and the threat that country’s nuclear program poses to the region. Earlier in the week, during his visit to China, Secretary Gates toured a Chinese strategic missile command center. The Chinese military staged a test of its stealth fighter jet – a move that to seemed to surprise Chinese government leaders. Still, Secretary Gates said progress had been made in the efforts to forge closer military ties with China: Please join us for a update on Gates’ mission and east Asian security issues.
- David Shambaugh Professor of Political Science and International Affairs Director, China Policy Program, Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University His newest books: "China's Communist Party: Atrophy & Adaptation; American and European Relations with China" and "The International Relations of Asia"
- Michael Green Japan chair and a senior adviser, Center for Strategic and International Studies associate professor of international relations,Georgetown University.
- John Delury Senior fellow, Asia Society’s Center on US-China Relations and professor, Yonsei University Graduate School of International Studies in Seoul
MS. DIANE REHMThanks for joining us. I'm Diane Rehm. U.S. Defense Secretary Gates is making an east Asian tour this week with stops in Beijing, Tokyo and Seoul. His mission, to forge closer military ties with China and to assess the U.S. role in some of the region's most pressing security issues. Joining me in the studio to talk about the challenges for Secretary Gates, David Shambaugh. He's director of the China Policy Program at George Washington University. Good morning to you, sir.
MR. DAVID SHAMBAUGHGood morning, Diane.
REHMNice to have you here. Michael Green, he's at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in the Georgetown University. Good morning.
MR. MICHAEL GREENGood morning.
REHMAnd joining us from an NPR studio in New York, John Delury of the Asia Society's Center on U.S.-China Relations and professor at Yonsei University Graduate School of International Studies in Seoul. Good morning to you, sir.
MR. JOHN DELURYGood morning. Thanks for having me.
REHMThanks for being with us. And throughout the hour, we'll welcome your calls. Join us on 800-433-8850. Send us your e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Join us on Facebook or Twitter. Let's start with China, David Shambaugh. How successful has Secretary Gates' trip been toward forging better relations with China?
SHAMBAUGHWell, he went to Beijing to forge for military relations with China. And forging any military relations at China has to be considered a success because they've been suspended for more than a year by the Chinese side, I might add, in response to American sales of $6.4 billion with the weapons at Taiwan last January. So we've had a year of no military exchanges between the United States and China, so this is a significant trip in that regard, just to restart them. And one of the things they did, in fact, was to set out a calendar of exchanges over the next 12 months. So there is a road map for the future.
SHAMBAUGHThere are a couple of other things I think we have to put in the accomplishment category. First of all, just to visit the Second Artillery headquarters, it's called, which is China's nuclear weapons command complex, this is the, I think, second time that an American defense secretary has been taken to that facility. Donald Rumsfeld was taken there previously. Gates might have actually gone there once before. Anyway, that's sort of an effort on the Chinese to be more transparent about nuclear policy.
SHAMBAUGHAnd then from what we can tell from the press and the press conferences that were given, the discussions with the Chinese military and civilian leadership, including President Hu Jintao, went fairly well, certainly as well as could be expected on a whole variety of issues. The one thing that seems -- well, two things that sort of in the negative category that have arisen, one was Gates' proposal with the Chinese to start a dialogue on four very sensitive areas: missile defense, cyber security, space security and one of nuclear weapon strategy. The Chinese said they will study that proposal.
SHAMBAUGHThe American media's considered that a rebuff. I'm not so sure it's a rebuff. I think it means they will study it, and hopefully take it up. The other big thing that's gotten a lot of press, of course, is the test flight of the new Chinese stealth fighter, the J-20, precisely on the day he was meeting with the Chinese president. Coincidental, not coincidental -- we're not quite sure. The Chinese president told Gates he didn't know about it, in fact. And I think -- and Gates had said he takes the president at his word, so we don't know. But that was a demonstration in the Air Force domain, how far the Chinese military modernization's actually moving. But, on balance, I think, Diane, we have to say the Gates' trip was quite successful.
REHMAnd, Michael Green, would you agree? And what about that test flight in front of Secretary Gates?
GREENWell, first, I agree with David. On balance, it was a successful trip and accomplished as much as can realistically be expected, given the Chinese military, the PLA's resistance to transparency with the U.S. How long this will last is another question. They've cut these military dialogues off a number of times when frustrated with us for -- usually for Taiwan-related issues. I think the trip also highlighted for the American public concerns that are growing within the administration about what should be called civil military relations. Hu Jintao probably was surprised that the Chinese military tested during the, you know, Gates' visit and just before his visit with the Chinese president, this new weapon.
REHMCould he really have been surprised? And, if he was, what does that say about the relationship between the military and the president?
GREENI personally -- we don't know. But I think Secretary Gates' instinct was right, that he was surprised. I worked for President Bush as his Asian adviser and traveled with him and with Secretary of State Powell and others to China. And this kind of thing happened before. We met Jiang Zemin in 2002, and there was an earthquake that morning. Hundreds of people were killed, and he didn't know about it. So the Chinese president is clearly not briefed in the way the American president is every morning about national security.
GREENHis chair of the Central Military Commission, the party controls the military in that sense, but it doesn't have the kind of day-to-day operational oversight. There's no civilian bureaucracy. There are no congressional committees. And so information, especially about operations, is controlled basically by the PLA. And this is, I think, a growing source of concern, particularly as PLA generals become more outspoken on foreign policy and begin to cast China's image differently around the world.
REHMAnd, John Delury, do you want to weigh in?
DELURYWell, you know, David and Michael are covering the key points on -- it is interesting. There's a great deal of speculation about this question, you know. Could he really not have known? And what are the implications of that? And as two others can comment, you know, there has been -- China experts have been increasingly wondering what is the emerging sort of foreign policy role of the PLA. So you could conceivably put this as a data point in that analysis. But I think, probably, most people would agree, you know. It would be stepping way too far out to think that the PLA, you know, ordered this strategically to time without telling Hu Jintao, you know, to make some point. For me, I think, that's really pushing it too far to go to that.
REHMJohn Delury, a new Pew Research poll finds that, for the first time, most Americans believe that Asia, rather than Europe, is the most important region to U.S. interest. Would you agree?
DELURYWell, that's why I moved over to Korea. I'm teaching there. I mean, I'm kidding. No. There is this -- you know, it's everywhere. I mean, we're surrounded by rising China. And, certainly, coming out of the economic crisis insofar as we are, you know, the East Asian economies -- well, especially, China and South Korea has done well -- have recovered, at least superficially, survived to the crisis and have recovered much more quickly. So that's also generating this impression. But, you know, these opinion polls shift quickly, so we can't put too much weight into it.
REHMNow, David Shambaugh, the president of China is coming here next week. In light of Secretary Gates' visit to China, how might that affect what happens between President Obama and Hu Jintao?
SHAMBAUGHOn the -- Diane, President Hu Jintao will visit the White House next Wednesday, I believe, the 19th of January, for a full state visit, including a banquet state dinner, 21-gun South Lawn salute and a welcoming ceremony. This is all the bells and all the whistles. This is a big deal. In any time the two presidents of the People's Republic of China and the United States meet, it's a big deal. They meet frequently, I should say. This would be the eighth meeting between the two in two years. But a state visit is different than meeting on the sides of another international conference, which they tend to do. So this in itself is a very important event, and we, maybe, should talk a bit more about that.
SHAMBAUGHBut your question about the Gates visit relative to the Hu visit, the Gates visit is one more step in the last two months that both sides have been trying to prepare for the Hu visit, to set the atmospherics, I think. We've had a meeting in December of the -- in the commercial realm, what's called the Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade. We had defense consultation talks in December. We've had meetings between other parts of the two governments over the last eight weeks to try and prepare a better atmosphere. Why? Because the atmosphere for the previous 12 months was terrible. This has been the worst year -- last year was the worst year in U.S.-China relations.
SHAMBAUGHOh, gosh. Any number -- the relationship started to unravel and unhinge and hemorrhage, I would say, beginning with President Obama's state visit to China in November 2009. From then until this November, we saw one thing after another, starting with the Copenhagen climate change conference, then went to the Google issue. Then it went to the American arms sale to Taiwan and Obama's meeting to the Dalai Lama, then the imprisonment of Liu Xiaobo, now, the Nobel Peace Prize winner for 11 years, human rights situation in China deteriorated, whole series of economic issues between the two sides -- on both sides, investment issues, trade issues, the currency issue, one thing after another. It was a terrible year in U.S.-China relationships, I think.
REHMSo do you see things on the improvement scale?
GREENWell, the -- David's absolutely right. This was a very rough year. I think it's against the backdrop of the financial crisis, which, rightly or wrongly, it looked in China like the beginning of American pronounced decline -- I think they now realize wrongly -- and a leadership in transition in China in 2012. So, in effect, Hu Jintao is a lame duck. And much like politics in other countries, these transitions bring out a lot of competition, nationalism, posturing. But this summit will, I think, reestablish some stability. No doubt about it. It's critical for that. Will it fix the various problems in U.S.-China relations? No, it won't. Those will remain. But at least it will put a floor under the problem, and maybe we'll have a better year next year.
REHMMichael Green, he is Japan chair, senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He's also associate professor in international relations at Georgetown University. We'll take just a short break and be right back.
REHMAnd we're back talking about Defense Secretary Gates' trip to East Asia, what progress or otherwise he may have made with the Chinese, with Japan, with South Korea. And, indeed, we have three guests with us. Michael Green is at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. On the line with us from an NPR studio in New York is John Delury, senior fellow at the Asian Society Center on U.S.-China Relations. He's professor at Yonsei University Graduate School of International Studies in Seoul. And David Shambaugh, professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University, his newest book is "China's Communist Party: Atrophy & Adaptation." We will take your calls shortly. Feel free to join us.
REHMI want to turn to you now, Michael Green, on Japan. The United States wants to have Japan establish stronger military ties with South Korea. But what are Japan's military capabilities?
GREENWell, Japan is now ranked the third largest economy in the world, and per capita spending on defense is around 124. But when you have an economy that large, even if you're spending, you know, less than 1 percent of your economic product on defense, that's a lot of firepower. So Japan has one of the largest navies in the world, one of the largest air forces, but their constitution outlaws, basically, the right of war. So it's been -- they've been prescribed in what they can do. They've also had a difficult relationship with Korea -- another American ally -- but a country Japan occupied and, in many ways, repressed for decades in the 19th and 20th centuries. So, in other words, Japan has enormous capabilities, but has been very constrained in how it's using it.
GREENSo what the U.S., I think, would like -- Japan's economy is in trouble, like ours, and a big increase in defense spending is probably not going to happen. But I think that Secretary Gates would like Japan to use what it has more ambitiously, not for war, but for humanitarian relief, for peacekeeping, for patrolling Japan's sea lanes, and also for Korea and Japan to work more closely together now because they both face a common threat from North Korea, which is very clear.
GREENAnd although they have somewhat different views of China in both Korea and Japan, there is -- Japan more than Korea -- but in both countries now, there's growing alarm about what China's long-term intentions are, and, clearly, in both countries, a recognition, once again, how critical the U.S. alliance and forward presence is. So there's something of a convergence, despite many historical difficulties, between Japan and Korea. It's in U.S. interest -- and has always been so -- for those two allies to work together to stabilize the region.
REHMAnd, John Delury, what would North Korea's reaction be, should Japan begin to patrol those sea lanes? What would that raise in the minds of North Korea?
DELURYWell, rhetorically, there'd be fire and brimstone coming out of Pyongyang. And, indeed, it wouldn't be surprising to see a new sphere of maritime conflict, you know. As we all know, there's been really dramatic and horrific conflict on the sea border between the two Koreas on the west side, on the West Sea, and, historically, there have been issues on the other side. So if you saw an increase in activity there, North Korea would certainly perceive it, you know, as a security threat. And it would not at all be surprising to see, again, a new sphere of conflict out there.
REHMAnd, indeed, Secretary Gates speculated recently that, within five years, North Korea could have a missile capable of hitting the United States. How widely is that view held in the region, John Delury?
DELURYWell, you know, it's assumed he has access to, you know, the best intelligence the United States can muster and that he's not going to come out publicly and make a comment like that unless it's grounded in some really solid findings and assessment. Certainly, you know, there's been regular missile testing of short- and mid- and long-range tests. They haven't all gone successfully, but, you know, North Korea has a very active missile program.
DELURYI mean, there's a whole other issue with making that a nuclear-capable long-range missile, and that involves what I understand to be a much more complicated process of miniaturizing a nuclear warhead that you can attach to a missile. So you have to be careful to separate those two things. But, of course, you know, when the Secretary of Defense of the United States comes out and gives such a hard number of five years, that's something you have to pay attention to, and people in the region are.
REHMBut, David Shambaugh, the main player here is China. And the U.S. is asking China for assistance with North Korea on issues like these missiles?
SHAMBAUGHThat's right. You know, if North Korea is the great enigma on the planet, China's relationship with North Korea is even a greater enigma. Nobody really understands it. Of course, as you say, Diane, the United States would like, and has sought for many years -- including during the Bush administration when Mike Green was working in the White House -- to elicit Beijing's assistance on a range of issues dealing with North Korea, not just the nuclear issue.
SHAMBAUGHBut Beijing's calculation towards North Korea is very different than our own. They don't start with nuclear weapons. That is a concern of theirs. They don't want the North to have nuclear weapons. They want to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. But that's not the primary issue to them. The primary issue to them is the sustenance of the North Korean regime. They don't want an implosion and collapse of the state in this country on their border, both for practical reasons because of the refugee flow that would result, because of the reconstruction needs that would make the reconstruction of East Germany, for example, pale in comparison, but because of their own -- I would argue -- domestic political insecurities.
SHAMBAUGHIf the communist regime, on the periphery, collapsed, it might accentuate the Chinese Communist Party's own insecurities about their own rule. So there's a variety of issues in the way that Beijing looks at North Korea that do not begin with nuclear weapons. And that's part of the -- been the part of the problem with Washington.
REHMJohn Delury, what kind of unilateral pressure, though, is each of these countries, Japan, the United States, China? What sort of multilateral pressure can be put on the North Koreans?
DELURYWell, as David says, there's some fundamental differences in how China views this and acts on it than the United States, and I don't expect that to go away. There may be some efforts to paper it over between Obama and Hu Jintao, but there's this really fundamental difference, both in terms of the priorities and then also the methods that the two sides think are most effective with North Korea.
DELURYYou know, in my view, China is going to -- could be consistent in the policy they have had, which is to keep channels open with Pyongyang, diplomatic and economic. They're always chipping away at getting North Korea to follow the Chinese path to no success thus far, but they always chip away at it. And, you know, the United States right now is aligned especially, really, with South Korea. I mean, the current policy really started from a switch in the South Korean government and South Korean approach to North Korea, which is, you know, officially a dual track. But, in fact, it's been emphasis on sanctions, on containment and not being very eager to jump in there and get to the negotiating table with North Korea.
DELURYSo South Korea, Japan and the United States have maintained, more or less, a shared approach on that. You know, in Michael's comment, especially on Japan, very recently, there have been these signals of, potentially, all three sides opening up, even some bilateral channels. Japan even -- the foreign minister came out and floated that, and there's been some activity, both in Seoul and in Washington, suggesting that. But it's very tentative on these sides, whereas the Chinese are, you know -- they're in there, and they're going to keep talking to Pyongyang. And to wait for China to finally toughen up and cut off the fuel and other aid to the North, I think, is really waiting for Godot.
GREENWell, I think the administration hopes on this trip, and they may succeed, although it's a little bit of a long shot to convince President Hu and the Chinese leadership that they have to think differently about North Korea. And David described exactly how they think about North Korea, stability first. And the message from Washington has been -- and I think in the summit will be -- the mounting of nuclear warheads on missiles is not that far away. And when that happens, North Korea becomes not a proliferation concern or a security tension. It becomes a fundamental threat to the security of the United States and Japan and South Korea, and, therefore, we are going to tighten our security cooperation, increase our military presence.
GREENIt's a high stakes game, and it's a tough message to the Chinese. And I think the administration feels that they're getting a little bit of traction. But whether or not it knocks China off its current stance -- which John and David described absolutely right -- we'll see. I'm not sure whether the Chinese calculation is immutable and permanent, and they're going to test that. I think North Korea will be actually at the top of the agenda for this summit.
REHMInteresting. Here are two messages for us on Facebook. The first from Perry who says, "I think we should speak past the current government to the Chinese people. Stand up for our values. Protect our intellectual property. Encourage U.S. companies to reject one-way deals, which give Chinese entities 51 percent ownership and transfer intellectual property." David Shambaugh.
SHAMBAUGHWell, he makes some good points. There have been longstanding concerns about Chinese forced transfer of technologies as part of joint -- so-called joint ventures. Whether you have 51 percent or 49 percent ownership, nonetheless, it is a joint venture. But what China has done -- not so much with American companies, actually more with European and even Asian companies -- is to leverage that and make the terms, the contract involve a transfer of actual technologies and a lot of training to which they then pirate and clone and integrate into subsequent systems of their own. So, I think, the caller or the writer of the e-mail has a good point there, but there are mechanisms to deal with this, bilateral and multilateral, through the World Trade Organization.
SHAMBAUGHOur government -- in fact, Secretary Geithner gave this very important speech at his alma mater yesterday at Johns Hopkins SAIS, on which he spoke directly to this point. And the U.S. government is getting a bit tougher, in fact, on this issue with the Chinese, and it's about time, frankly. The European Union is trying to be tougher with the Chinese on this, and it's about time. So we'll see if the Chinese actually do respond on the so-called indigenous innovation issue.
REHMDavid Shambaugh of George Washington University. And you're listening to "The Diane Rehm Show." But on the first part of Perry's point, how do we speak beyond the government of China to the people themselves? Is that even a real possibility, Michael Green?
GREENYes and no. I think David probably has also had the experience of appearing on Phoenix TV based out of Hong Kong or the American, you know, Radio Free Asia and other broadcasts, and you'll reach five to 10 to 15 million Chinese, which sounds pretty impressive until you remember there are 1.3 billion Chinese. So it's a mixed picture. The Internet -- as David has written, you know -- provides some access to information, but it's also controlled. I think, though, that the caller makes a point about the Chinese people versus the Chinese leadership. One of the things about this visit that has, to my mind, received surprisingly little attention is the fact that President Obama, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, will be having, you know, the full honors of a state visit with a leader who is imprisoning another Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Liu Xiaobo.
GREENAnd the media has been pretty quiet on that. And even in the Pew polling, the American public is, you know, less concerned with those issues than they used to be. It probably reflects our economic challenges. But the -- all the small progress that we've talked about in -- with Gates' visit and so forth, in the lead up to the summit is good. But on human rights, this summit is actually kind of unique in that we've accomplished nothing. I mean, a few years ago, we would -- Liu Xiaobo or others might have been released before a summit. What's really striking to me is how the Chinese leadership just doesn't care or is unable to respond to international and American concerns about these kinds of issue.
REHMAnd here's another message posted on Facebook by Andrew who says, "The Chinese are expanding their military. The North Koreans are a nuclear-capable power with dubious leadership. But the real problem is the economic war that China seems to be waging against us, one in which we can be destroyed from within our own country." David Shambaugh.
SHAMBAUGHI'm not -- I think that's a bit extreme, to be honest with you. It's a zero-sum perspective. There's no economic war going on, in my view, between the U.S. and China or China and any other country. The economics in today's globalized world are inherently interdependent. We're joined at the hip, for better or for worse, with the Chinese economy. They may own a lot of our debt, but they're also extremely dependent on us as their primary market -- secondary market, actually. They export more to the European Union than they do to the United States. But I don't think we need to look at the sign of American economic relationship through a zero-sum lens, but we've got problems. I think the writer is very correct there. We've got to negotiate those very toughly, but it's not quite as severe as he puts it.
REHMI thought it was interesting that Secretary of the Treasury Geithner said yesterday, talking about the yuan and his hopes for a more devaluation of the yuan, that ultimately our economic success depends on us and getting the deficit down, getting our economic health in order. So I think that would support what you say, Michael Green.
SHAMBAUGHWell, sometimes, you know, the American political system can really be motivated when they're a little bit scared of someone else's success, and that is a critical part of it. The foundation of our power does rest on our economic strength. I think that the interesting thing about the Chinese perspective on U.S. power is that commentators who say we're declining are usually not the economists. It's the PLA officers or the netizens. And I think that, fundamentally, there's a recognition in the leadership, and especially in places like Japan and Korea and elsewhere, that there's a lot of resilience in the American economy and the American political system.
SHAMBAUGHAnd one of the things, over the past year, that the administration has done quite effectively, I think, is to show the rest of Asia, after the financial crisis, the depth of our real power -- our relationships, our military and our economy -- that the administration was quite reticent on trade policy initially. But this past year has reached agreements with Korea on a free trade, has begun negotiations with other countries, and I think that has really built confidence in us in the region.
REHMMichael Green, he's at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He's also associate professor in international relations at Georgetown University. When we come back, we'll open the phones. I look forward to hearing from you.
REHMAnd as we talk about East Asia, Secretary of Defense Gates' visit to East Asia, let's go to Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Good morning, Eddie. You're on the air.
REHMHi. Go right ahead.
EDDIEHi, hi. Good morning. Diane, I'm sorry, but I've got to say this. I want the world to know, don't forget about Haiti. It's not over. I'm from Haiti. I just wanted to say that. I know this is off topic. I wanted to say that out there. And I have a question and a point to make. My question is, why are we so afraid of China getting a stealth bomber? Are we afraid that they're going to attack us here? And my point is, when I was a child, I used to hear great stories about America, how great America is. And, now, when you go around the world, you had people making fun, how much of a joke we are. We have no more power of doing anything. It's not like we're going to change anything out there. Why are we so afraid?
SHAMBAUGHI don't think we're afraid of a Chinese stealth bomber attacking the Continental United States. Perhaps if -- you know, worst-case scenario, we involved ourselves in the conflict in East Asia, which I know that such a bomber or a fighter might come into play. But the last fighter that the Chinese have now in their force -- the J10 -- this one they just tested is going to be the successor. It took over 20 years to get that plane from the design table into production, so to speak. So a test flight of this new plane, I think, long, long way away from putting it into the Chinese Air Force, first of all. Secondly, where are they going to fly to? The Chinese don't have any bases outside their own country, and their in-flight refueling capability is a bit dubious. So I don't think we need to concern ourselves too much about it.
REHMHere's an e-mail from Bill who says, "Isn't it in China's interest to see the slow demise of the U.S.? And to the extent that North Korea can consume U.S. resources -- political, capital, financial -- wouldn't this work to China's benefit short of U.S. action that causes North Korea to collapse? I see no reason why China would want to defuse the tension between the U.S. and North Korea." John Delury.
DELURYWell, that's a devious suggestion. I think Bill is maybe reading the "Art of War" by Sun Tzu. I mean, there is, you know -- without getting conspiratorial about it, I think Bill is on to something. Just some point of fact, North Korea does consume and absorb a huge amount of American resources and is a constant source of distraction, and there is some degree to which that does play to the Chinese hand. So I don't know that, you know, it's their strategy to actively create that situation or maintain it. But I think he's -- I think there's some truth, just the reality of things. One thing I want to step back and comment on...
DELURY...pretty much on all the comments of these callers is quite interesting -- the worries about Chinese, you know, buying 51 percent of American companies, the worries about Chinese military expansion. You know, one thing that we should reflect on is what would "The Diane Rehm Show" discussion be like if we held it in China in Chinese? And, you know, while there is control, there's in that control, there is also a great deal of increased openness on the media so that -- and, certainly, on blogs and BBS boards, you have those kinds of open discussions -- not the same, but certainly relative to the past for China.
DELURYAnd, you know, one thing we would hear listening to that -- we do hear listening to those conversations, is a lot of the same anxieties and fears that Chinese have across different demographics about the United States and its intentions towards China, and whether the United States is really going to make room for China, you know, and in terms of all the conflicts that occurred over the last year, whether it's Taiwan, whether it's the Dalai Lama, whether it's the issues, you know, with North Korea. They're very common views held in China that the United States is pursuing this long-term strategy of containment, of holding back China. So that's something for the American public to be...
DELURY...aware of, you know, that there's a real mirror image here in a lot of these anxieties.
REHMAnd, John Delury, do you believe that the Chinese government would allow "The Diane Rehm Show" to broadcast in China?
DELURYI think we should definitely arrange to talk to the right people in China and get you over there and host it. You know, again, the media world in China is one of those places where you can find openings that surprise you. Now, there are lots of examples -- very bad examples in the human rights situation overall. There's no question it's trending negatively. But media is one place where you can -- like, I think it was Michael referenced Phoenix TV or others. You can find these holes that you can exploit...
DELURY...where you can do things that would be surprising.
SHAMBAUGHWell, I just came back from spending a year in China on sabbatical and spent a good part of that year talking to Chinese journalists -- both television, radio and print -- went in to a number of TV and radio studios like this and had, as John just suggested, some pretty straightforward discussions that were not censored. I remember sitting in the studio with a Chinese general, for example, for an hour on TV talking about the Chinese military capabilities, and they didn't censor that. But in print they do censor frequently. I've had innumerable...
REHMInteresting that there should be that difference between print and broadcast.
SHAMBAUGHWell, it's difficult to delete certain sentences from aired -- from a television broadcast.
REHMBut why would they allow that to go forward in the first place?
DELURYWell, good question. But they -- in this case, they did. And I thought it was important enough to go on the program...
DELURY...and try to address how the outside world sees the Chinese military. But John is right. The Chinese media is quite open, but we shouldn't forget there is still extreme censorship. I've had my own articles censored repeatedly. I just submitted one today that's going to run tomorrow in a Beijing newspaper, and we'll see...
REHMJust what it looks like. Yeah.
DELURY...just what actually comes out. That's right.
REHMAnd to follow up on John Delury's comment, Angie in Jacksonville, Fla., you're on the air.
ANGIEHi, Diane. Thank you for letting me on the show.
ANGIEI wanted to ask your panel, what is the problem with us in America because we are only speaking of bilateral relationship that we have with other countries? But we forget that it is a bilateral relationship. That means when we are asking the Chinese to open their military facilities to us, do we at the same time open our own facilities to them? We are asking Chinese to lower their currency or higher currency or do what -- whatever. Are we at the same time doing the same thing for them or giving in to their own request? Because, if we don't do that, we're going to be seen as bullies, as we are often seen in many places in the world.
REHMThanks for your call, Angie. Michael Green.
GREENWell, on the specific point that Angie made about military tours and openness, you know, the U.S. military, the Pentagon views transparency as important and not threatening to us. Secretary Rumsfeld briefly had a different view, but for most of our history...
REHMNot so briefly, I would say, Michael.
GREENWell, I'm sorry. On the China-U.S. military, the military relationship sector, Rumsfeld was very skeptical, but that was the exception. Secretary Gates and others on the Pentagon side and, certainly, presidents from Clinton through Bush to Obama have viewed military-to-military transparency as in our interests. Why? Because we're stronger, frankly. And it helps to dissuade China from being too militarily ambitious. And because we have a more open and transparent system to begin with, we want to demonstrate to China how you show this transparency.
GREENSo we're actually quite generous compared to the PLA on that front. On other issues like economics, these are negotiations. And they're very tough, and I've been in them. And both sides, you know, make their cases. Both sides make concessions. I don't think anybody would argue we're pushing China around in these negotiations. They're tough, and both sides have their agenda. And we work it.
REHMAll right. To Boston, Mass. Good morning, Heing (sp?). You're on the air.
HEINGOh, hi. It's Heing.
HEINGOh, yeah. Diane, you are wonderful. I love to hear your voice.
HEINGYou're my hero. Now, the major message I want to say is that -- I ought to say, number one, if our incentive is try to make China to be good instead of punish them, instead of degrade them, instead of using force, we should encourage them. I can tell you if you respect Chinese -- China one inch, China will respect you and nice to you for miles, miles, miles. And more I really want to say is that, look at all the Chinese scientists coming to America. They tell USA, discover drug and discover this and that. They never cause trouble, right? Now if we can turn China to be good, and I think if we can understand the West and the East turn to competitor to be collaborator. And China can help USA a lot.
GREENWell, actually, American presidents since Richard Nixon have been quite encouraging to China. And China policy is one of the areas, prominent areas, in American foreign policy where there's a pretty strong bipartisan consensus. And American presidents have told their counterparts publicly and privately they want to see China play a larger role. They want a cooperative and productive relationship with China. And at the same time, issues of human rights, trade, the PLA military buildup, are going to be obstacles to that. We need to work on them, and that's been pretty consistent over 30 some years.
SHAMBAUGHI agree with Mike. For 30 years, we have been encouraging China to integrate peacefully into the international system, have a stake in that system, treat its own people in a more humane way, liberalize its own...
REHMOf course, we've been telling them how, have we not? We've been saying, do it our way.
SHAMBAUGHNo, I wouldn't quite say that. We've been saying there is an international standard, and these standards are enforced by international organizations and norms and laws. And we would expect, as member of the international community, China to be a global citizen. And we -- our government, that is -- has been encouraging -- for six, seven, eight consecutive administrations -- China to obey the norms and laws of the international system. So I think the caller is right. We've been encouraging that. The question is does China see it in their own interest to integrate that way and to obey the international norms when they were not at the table when those norms were written? So they feel that they're being asked to join a system, in fact, that they themselves didn't have much input into 40 years ago.
REHMJohn Delury, what about that East-West culture clash?
DELURYWell, I appreciate the spirit of the caller's remarks. But I have to say if we go back to one of the earlier issues raised by your listeners about values and dealing with human rights and values, you know, my sense is that the Obama administration and Secretary Clinton made a calculation that made a lot of sense at that time that, you know, this approach of getting at China's face over the values issues and human rights doesn't work. And you just get these occasional piecemeal improvements of, you know, releasing a dissident before a meeting. But this administration was going to try and engage China at a deeper level and, you know, not kind of pull out -- you know, air the bad -- the dirty laundry, but find a way to talk to the Chinese government in a way that it wouldn't lose any face, but that they could raise these issues.
DELURYAnd, you know, so far, what we're seeing is it's -- that's not getting many results. And I think the Obama government already has recognized that and has turned the corner and has been more confrontational, for lack of a better word. And I think, frankly, that you have to be, especially on the issue of values and human rights, you know? I mean, Obama came in just in a domestic context rightfully of the way he was trying to -- sort of redeem America internationally, was by improving our own values, you know, with issues like Guantanamo and others. And we still have a long way to go on that.
DELURYBut, you know, I think we've made enough progress, and the country and the government does stand for values that we should defend and I think really have to, you know, with China. So I think, you know -- as Michael said, I think it should get back into the playbook to pressure for the release of a dissident or, you know, that level of activity before a summit, you know. And it didn't happen when Obama went to Beijing, and it's not happening this time. We'll see if there's anything at all with Liu Xiaobo. So far there's been very little, and, I think, we have to, you know -- the American government really should turn up the heat on that.
REHMJohn Delury, he's senior fellow at the Asia Society Center on U.S.-China Relations. You're listening to "The Diane Rehm Show." And here's an e-mail from Marianne, who says, "Chinese and Japanese relations traditionally chilly and particularly so since the last Japanese invasion of China. We'll have to be one of trust but verify. I do not see these two countries as ever moving to close -- moving close politically. I believe a cautious peace can be maintained by the two." Michael Green.
GREENSounds about right to me. The strange thing about China's relations with its neighbors right now is that China is the largest trading partner for Japan, Korea, Australia, heading there with India. And for all of this economic interdependence, has China won the trust of its neighbors? No. On the security side, the trend's going in the opposite direction. Eighty-nine percent of Japanese say they don't trust China, over 60 percent of Koreans, and the numbers across Asia about China are much more negative than in the United States.
GREENAnd so one of the things that's shaping the U.S.-China relationship is that the rest of Asia, especially these middle powers and large powers like Japan, India, Korea, Indonesia, are worried about China and are pulling the U.S. into Asia, want us to stay, want to have closer relations. And that's shaping the overall U.S.-China relationship in ways that, frankly, I think, help us get through to Beijing about the importance of global norms.
REHMDavid Shambaugh, last word.
SHAMBAUGHI completely agree with Mike.
REHMAnd do you both -- do you all believe that this state visit will help to improve relations between the U.S. and China? David.
SHAMBAUGHI think it will to stabilize the relationship, which, as I said at the outset, has been hemorrhaging and in deterioration over the last year. So it will provide a floor to that and, hopefully, in certain areas, forge cooperation. If we can do that -- and particularly put in place some bureaucratic mechanisms to forge cooperation -- then it can be successful. Otherwise, it's going to be a lot of symbols of symmetry without a lot of substance.
REHMDavid Shambaugh, Michael Green, John Delury, thank you all so much. And thanks for listening, everybody. I'm Diane Rehm.
ANNOUNCER"The Diane Rehm Show" is produced by Sandra Pinkard, Nancy Robertson, Susan Nabors, Denise Couture and Monique Nazareth. The engineer is Tobey Schreiner. Dorie Anisman answers the phones. Visit drshow.org for audio archives, transcripts, podcasts and CD sales. Call 202-885-1200 for more information. Our e-mail address is email@example.com. And we're on Facebook and Twitter. This program comes to you from American University in Washington. This is NPR.
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