There are many views on US-China relations, changing with time for sure. This article is presenting a view on the relationship from multiple angles from US-China direct confrontations to tissues related to third party or geographic regions in the world, such as EU, M.E., Russia, Africa, South America (and US neighbors), FVEY (Australia), South China Sea and Taiwan, and – how the world sees the US-China relation.
(5) Africa’s View of the U.S. - China Relation
China as a developing nation making rapid progress is somewhat sympathetic to African nations in their economic development. The colonial masters made very little investment during their occupation of Africa. The West developed nations including Japan from Asia held a profit-first attitude in their loans and investment; they treated Africa just as a consumer market. Whereas China was willing to wait for her investment returns in longer terms, such as developing farm-land or transportation infrastructure, patiently waiting for progress of development to occur and more flexible bartering deals to happen. This gave China many more friends in the UN. The U.S. has obviously felt it in the UN.
(6) South America and U.S. Close Neighbors
The U.S. long held the Monroe doctrine as her backbone of foreign policy regarding South America, Mexico and Canada. The U.S. is both protective and dominant. Even though China’s interest is merely in trade of goods and raw materials for her industrial needs, the U.S. considers China’s entry in S. America as a threat to her leadership, in fact, more likely viewed as challenging her ‘governance attitude’ regarding those regions. The USMCA regional trade agreement specifically requires Mexico and Canada to source supplies from member countries rather than from China. Again, such protectionism makes the U.S. appear hypocritical when she demands other countries to open up and exercise free trade. Canada's arresting of the Huawei CFO bowing to the U.S. request of extradition on an Iran sanction violation has generated lots of international bad press for Canada and the U.S.
(7) Australia and The Five Eye Alliance
The five eye alliance, U.S., U.K. Canada, New Zealand and Australia (FVEY), is an intelligence alliance, but it gets involved in the U.S. trade war and technology sanctions concerning telecommunication products and services from China. Under the U.S. pressure, FVEY made a concerted effort to sanction Huawei, a Chinese telecommunication corporation. Their trade relations with China, except New Zealand which took a conciliatory position with China, are now on the rock. China took a firm stand and singled out Australia to severe their trade ties. China is the number one trading partner of Australia which exports her 39.4% goods and 17.6% services to China. Combined with COVID-19’s impact, Australia’s economy is badly hurt and may never return to previous level in the future. FVEY has been regarded as a high-profile discriminating organization. The world is hardly receptive to its behavior; and they see that the U.S. is leading the pack.
(8) South China Sea and Indo-Pacific Strategy
The U.S. launched the Pivot to Asia strategy to strengthen her containment of China and instigated the Philippines to challenge China on her sovereignty of some islands in the South China Sea (SCS) in an international arbitration court. China denies such court’s jurisdiction over sovereignty matter and its ruling. This episode prompted China to increase her naval presence in SCS and her successful island fortification program, building ports and airfields on land refills on a few strategic islands. The U.S. has sent her carriers and naval vessels claiming freedom of navigation in SCS as well as attempting to extend the containment plot to Indian Ocean by recruiting India and Australia to join her Indo-Pacific alliances. India although has taken part in the Indo-Pacific navy exercises but showing no intention to be an ally member. Many of the ASEAN countries simply expressed their displeasure being pressured by the U.S. to take side on this U.S.-China confrontation. Here is a Monroe doctrine case in SCS for China, why is the U.S. thinking differently from a Monroe case in South America?
(9) Taiwan as a part of China
The U.S. and China established their diplomatic tie on the basis that the U.S. recognizes the People’s Republic of China as the only legitimate China and Taiwan is a part of the only China, expecting a peacefully reunification someday. The U.S. maintained an informal tie with Taiwan and exploited this two-China situation as a pressure point to hurt China, even selling offensive weapons to Taiwan. China has kept her promise patiently waiting for a peaceful reunification, but the island has drifted away from Mainland China since the Democratic Progressive Party in Taiwan promoted independence for the island. The mainland Chinese now view the U.S. as the culprit for such shift under the disguise of democracy with a real purpose of preventing their reunification. The island Chinese has developed a serious split with different ideas of reunification and independence, albeit most people recognized that the future would not be in their hands. The island citizens may be uneasy with the Chinese Communist Party but they also know that they cannot rely on the help from the U.S. Taiwan’s independence movement would be similar to California or Texas independence movement, never acceptable to the rest of the nation. Trump made use of the Taiwan issue to antagonize China with no obvious gain. Biden Administration may change their Taiwan policy after they handled the COVID-19 situation, but they do need to stand in someone else shoes to think about the US-China issues for a change.
The U.S. has many think tanks on foreign policies. They tend to reinforce each other’s view all based on American perspective. On US-China issues, we need to take a third party or a world perception to gain understanding. Why can we apply Monroe doctrine to S. America and China cannot apply Monroe doctrine in SCS? Why do we demand others to open trade and yet we restrict trades to others? Why do we need to form allies as if war is imminent? Why did we fail in Africa with prejudice as we preach diversity at home? The author hopes that this article will stimulate some honest discussions and arrive at some sensible conclusions!