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2015年6月27日 (土)

米中戦略対話 「責任ある競争相手」に程遠い

The Yomiuri Shimbun
After high-level talks with U.S., China still far from ‘responsible stakeholder’
米中戦略対話 「責任ある競争相手」に程遠い

The United States found a stage to deliver a stern reminder to China, which is continuing its high-handed behavior in maritime areas and in cyberspace, that it needs to follow the rules and fulfill its responsibilities as a major power.

The seventh round of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue has been held in Washington. Over two days, high-level officials from both nations held discussions on a wide spectrum of issues ranging from national security to economic matters.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called on China to halt its land reclamation around reefs and military facility construction in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. “We do have a strong national interest in freedom of navigation and overflight,” Kerry said.

Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi hit back, saying China has a “firm determination to safeguard territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests.” China is attempting to unilaterally enclose the South China Sea as “its own sea.” We think this approach, which has no basis under international law, is completely unacceptable.

In mid-June, the Chinese government announced some of its land reclamation work will be completed soon. This was probably intended to temporarily ease antagonism with Washington ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to the United States in September.

However, what some observers have termed “a Great Wall of sand” has already been built due to China’s land reclamation. There appears to be no change in China’s plan to push on with preparing military facilities and a 3,000-meter runway. If this situation continues, distrust of China will only grow.

Some progress made

In the economic field, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew issued a sterner-than-usual criticism of China on cyber issues. “We remain deeply concerned about Chinese government-sponsored cyber-enabled theft of confidential business information and proprietary technology from U.S. companies,” Lew said.

Yang said Beijing supports the principle of developing an “international code of conduct for cyber information-sharing,” but a bilateral working group on cyber issues remains suspended. It would be a stretch to say China provided a sincere response on this issue.

U.S. President Barack Obama also expressed “ongoing U.S. concerns” about China’s cyber and maritime behavior, and he urged China to take “concrete steps” on these issues. It is hugely significant that the president directly called on China to deal with these matters appropriately.

With China seeking to build a “new type of major-power relationship” with the United States, it said both sides should “respect and accommodate each other’s core interests.” U.S. Vice President Joe Biden reportedly urged China to be a “responsible stakeholder” in the international system.

If China genuinely wants to realize a “major-power relationship,” in which it stands on an equal footing with the United States, it should start by fulfilling the responsibilities commensurate with such a position.

There was progress made elsewhere, as the United States and China reached agreement on a raft of issues including climate change and people-to-people exchanges. They also agreed to expand technological cooperation as a countermeasure to combat climate change. China is scheduled to announce this month its reduction target for greenhouse gas emissions.

The United States and China are the world’s two largest emitters of these gases. They must steadily make progress in reducing their emissions. The key question will be whether they can produce actual results, not just stage a show of cooperative ties.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 26, 2015)


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