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China invites Obama to the dance floor

There is only one way of looking at United States President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday. It is a signpost of the priorities of his second term. The priorities narrow down to a single PRIORITY — how to revive the US economy. 

Beijing has been quick on the feet to estimate what it implies for US-China relationship — as if it has figured out things already. Again, it narrows down to one single track: How to make Chinese policies to be helpful and interesting from Obama’s perspective. 
Simply put, the secret lies in working out how China could help Obama create jobs in the American economy and step up America’s exports through boosting trade and investment. 
Xinhua’s commentary, which appeared earlier today with Beijing dateline, is indeed insightful and authoritative and it points to a foreign-policy concept that the new leader Xi Jinping hinted at during his visit to the US last year. 
The argument is impeccable: US-Chinese interdependency is so far advanced today that neither side can afford to contemplate hurting the other side. On the other hand, neither can remain unaffected if the other is not in good health. 
Therefore, China is signaling it has embarked on a course whereby it is “making constant efforts to buy more US goods”; reaffirming its “pledge to further open up its market” to offer new opportunities for US to expand business in such exciting areas as clean energy (which is a “priority in Obama’s economic agenda”). 
Xinhua makes a thumping statement that “getting the US economy back on the right track is not only the wish of Obama and his fellow Americans, but also in the interest of China and the world at large.” Hmmm. What does Obama do now? Spurn the irresistible Chinese offer? What happens now to the ‘rebalancing’ to Asia? More important, are the Indian pundits getting the plot straight? 
The curious part is that this commentary appears on the morrow of North Korea’s nuclear test and I just wrote that Beijing is showing itself increasingly on the ‘right side of history.’ My good friend and colleague Francesco Sisci who also wrote on this seems spot on — “Many things are still open but definitely a new thinking is blooming in Beijing on international affairs and the US pivot in Asia can’t ignore this.” Read Sisci here

Posted in Diplomacy, Politics.

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