Future Of U.S.-China Relations Unpredictable, Noted China Expert Tells Coronado Roundtable - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Coronado Island News

Future Of U.S.-China Relations Unpredictable, Noted China Expert Tells Coronado Roundtable

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Posted: Friday, September 6, 2019 5:27 pm | Updated: 5:59 pm, Fri Sep 6, 2019.

The Coronado Roundtable welcomed back former board member and noted authority on China affairs, Susan Anderson, at its Aug. 23 meeting at the Coronado Public Library. A capacity audience heard Anderson address U.S.-China bilateral relations which she characterized as approaching a tipping point. Fluent in Mandarin and Thai, Anderson retired from a 31-year career in U.S. government which included extensive service in Asia. The Coronado resident described the economic competition between our two countries with an emphasis on the Chinese perspective, which is largely formed by the Chinese Communist Party. Preservation of the party is the dominant and, in some respects, the one indispensable goal of the Chinese leadership, she said.

China is immensely proud of its long history, extending back to ancient times and is determined to regain the dominant role it once played. Since the U.S. and the People’s Republic of China established diplomatic relations in 1979, China has undergone enormous and rapid growth, evolving from a rural agrarian society to the world’s second-largest economy with ultra-modern cities. Its population grew from 1 billion to nearly 1.5 billion, lifting millions out of poverty, while ours grew from 230 million to 330 million. It seems determined to overtake the U.S. and will employ aggressive economic policies to do so, including currency manipulation, and forcing foreign countries to turn over technology and intellectual property as a condition of doing business. President Trump’s use of tariffs and other measures in an attempt to “level the playing field” have provoked the ire of Chinese leaders who tend to view such actions as efforts to contain China’s growth. Growth is essential in China to ensure continued popular support of the communist government. Anderson agrees that leveling the field is necessary but does not feel that tariff wars are an effective means to accomplish this because of their “tit-for-tat” nature.

President Xi Jinping is also General Secretary of the Communist party which controls nearly everything in China. Often described as the paramount leader, he has effectively established himself as leader for life. He can afford to be patient and wait out Trump until he is eventually replaced by a more predictable leader. Trump’s unpredictability, however, can be viewed alternately as both an asset and a detriment. At present though, Anderson sees U.S. –China relations at a dangerously low point. They may be exacerbated by the ongoing protests in Hong Kong, depending upon how Beijing responds to them.

Anderson believes that ongoing competition will continue to intensify, especially in the area of technology where the Chinese are rapidly catching up. China has 129 companies in the Global Fortune 500 list compared to our 121 and is far ahead of us in 5G technology. They use their phones for everything including paying for everyday purchases. Americans need to become more aware, she said, of the potential security threat posed by Chinese technology advances.

Anderson is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara with a B.A. in Political Science and Asia Studies. She was introduced by Roundtable Past President and Director Emeritus Bill Green. Roundtable President Kirk Henry presided.

The Coronado Roundtable presents prominent speakers on a variety of topics at its monthly meetings on the fourth Friday of each month from January through October. The November meeting is on the third Friday and there is no meeting in December. Meetings begin at 10 a.m. in the Winn Room of the Coronado Public Library and the public is cordially invited. Come early and enjoy a cup of coffee with your neighbors.

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