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Time to Reassess China Policy?

4:12 PM, Jan 17, 2011 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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Time to Reassess China Policy?

On the eve of Hu Jintao's visit to the White House, the Foreign Policy Initiative calls on President Obama to take the following actions: 

  • Solidify America’s relationships with our Asian allies to counter-balance the increasing capability and reach of China’s military.  Increased arms sales to Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Australia, and India; as well as an expanded regional missile defense architecture to counter China’s ballistic missile threat would dramatically improve the East Asian security situation.  The United States should also encourage these allies to increasingly conduct joint political meetings as well as military exercises.
  • Abandon Secretary Gates’ policy of accepting mid-term risk with states like China in America’s force posture.  The United States should restore production of the fifth-generation F-22 fighter; and maintain funding for the Navy’s 12-carrier, 313-ship plan.  A larger modern military will help maintain America’s qualitative edge against China, and reassure our Asian allies regarding U.S. staying power in the region.
  • Continue long-standing U.S. policy of support for Taiwan.  Recent reports that the United States will sell Taipei upgrades to its F-16s are encouraging; however, because the increasingly modern Chinese air force is overshadowing Taiwanese capabilities, the Obama administration should begin discussions immediately regarding selling Taiwan the F-35, as it will with Japan and Australia, as well as explore other means to bolster the island’s defensive capabilities, such as through missile defense or submarine sales.
  • Elevate concern for democracy and human rights.  Speak out against Chinese human rights abuses in every available forum at every available opportunity.  Establish linkage between American policy towards the People’s Republic and its human rights behavior.  Recognize that the best long-term solution for American concerns about Chinese behavior is its eventual democratization and expose the connection between the nature of China’s communist regime and its behavior at home and abroad.
  • Seek solutions to major international issues without China.  Though the P5+1 and Six Party Talks were, conceptually, an innovative method to deal with Iran and North Korea; in practice, they have served as another mechanism by which Russia and China continue to resist efforts to compel their client states.  Instead, the United States, in concert with its democratic allies, should seek other avenues to impair these regimes’ capabilities. 

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