Author Profile Author Profile Chu Yaozhu Chu Yaozhu is a junior in the Department of English and International Study, China Foreign Affairs University. She is strongly interested in International Relations, especially Sino-U.S. relations.
Mission of the
U.S./China Media
and Communications
Program at UCLA

Our mission is to create, promote, and disseminate a more balanced understanding of the interrelationship of the countries, peoples, and cultures of the United States and China through the tools of mass communication and public education.

Four strategic areas make up the U.S.-China Media and Communications Program, housed at the UCLA Asian American Studies Center at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Beijing on Barack Article

"Which Way Will Sino-U.S. Relations Go?"

By Chu Yaozhu


In America, the phrase, “The change we need!,” just like the words, “One world, one dream” in China, became two of the most famous slogans in the world in 2008. And former Sen. Barack Obama — the young, energetic and intelligent presidential candidate — caught the attention of most everyone. On Nov. 4, 2008, he won the general election and became the first African American to ascend to the White House. His winning is epic and encouraging for most Americans.

Yet, most Chinese here are more concerned about how his policy will change Sino-U.S relations. In fact, the two nominees in the 2008 election didn’t mention much about their policies toward China. They were both busy putting forward plans to deal with domestic problems, including the financial crisis, the Iraq War and so on. After Obama became the president-elect, his top priority was not Sino-U.S. relations but addressing the declining American economy. So it seems unlikely that he will initially prioritize or influence Sino-U.S relations. In my view, Sino-U.S relations will be stable after he is sworn into office, for the following reasons:

  • First, after 9/11, Americans have a positive general impression about China’s role in the new international order. China plays an important role in international security. Moreover, China’s economy has become the backbone of the entire world. Nowadays, the U.S is facing a grave financial and economic crisis; in Iraq, coping with the military dilemma; and, last but not least, involving the morass of nuclear issues around North Korea and Iraq. Considering this complicated situation, the U.S needs help from China, which has the growing economic strength and rising international influence to deal with these kinds of problems.
  • Second, communications at all levels between China and the United States have become more and more frequent. The two nations are increasingly active in political, economic and cultural exchanges, making the relationship flourish and grow. In the economic field, China replaced Japan as the largest creditor of the United States. When the Wall Street financial crisis struck, the Chinese government was committed to weather the financial crisis with the United States and other countries. In the political sphere, the leaders of the two sides became more closely linked than before. This summer, President Bush’s attendance at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games also clearly shows that the U.S regards China as an important partner. Many Americans came to view Beijing Olympic Games, which indicated that the growing social and political economic vitality of China attracts the U.S. and the rest of the world.
  • Third, as I have mentioned, the U.S now has many priorities, each of which is an emergency. How to decrease the negative impact on American economy because of the financial crisis? How to withdraw the U.S troops from Iraq, but at the same time, keep everything there in order? How to tackle the Iran nuclear issue peacefully? Those questions will make Obama put more attention on these issues, thereby not spending time to hastily change U.S. policy toward China.

Based on the three reasons above, I believe that Sino-U.S relations will be stable in the short run. At the same time, we know that Obama is opposed to the U.S exporting a large number of jobs to China. And he is also against China’s exchange rate policy. Perhaps when he steps into White House next January, some Sino-U.S trade friction will emerge. But we still have reason to believe that though there are always differences, the developmental prospects of the relation between the two nations are bright.

In the current situation, Obama will work to establish a constructive strategic partnership between China and the U.S. Maybe he will be more proactive than the Bush administration. We can only wait and see.

[keywords: Sino, United States, relations, Barack Obama ]


© Copyright 2009 by Chu Yaozhu