US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and Chinese President Hu Jintao met this week to talk Syria, but (predictably) no agreement has been reached. Most interestingly, a scheduled meeting between Clinton and future Chinese leader Xi Jinping was cancelled, and the country’s Foreign Minister has openly rebuked Clinton on several issues. Yowch.
The Syria problem, according to Reuters, is that China still opposes any intervention in the country, despite the fact that Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi has said China is willing to participate in a re-building process for the war-torn nation:
“‘We and many countries all support a period of political transition in Syria,’ Yang said at a news conference after talks with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
‘But we also believe that any solution should come from the people of Syria and reflect their wishes,’ he said. ‘It should not be imposed from outside.’
On June 30, China joined other world powers in agreeing that a transitional government should be formed in Syria. China has also repeatedly urged the Syrian government to talk with the opposition and take steps to meet public demands for political change.
But China is wary of calls for change snowballing into foreign intervention, and Yang’s remarks reflected that caution.”
For great in-depth analysis on why Clinton is having such a hard timebefriending China, check out this piece by the Associated Press’ Matt Lee. In in, Lee says the countries remain deeply divided on the issue for a plethora of reasons–one of which might be her stance on the ongoing conflict in the seas surrounding China:
“Clinton wants the Chinese to drop their insistence on settling conflicting claims with individual nations and instead embrace a multilateral mechanism that will give the smaller members of the Association of South East Asian Nations greater clout in negotiations. She said she wanted all sides to make meaningful progress by a November summit of East Asian leaders that President Barack Obama plans to attend in Cambodia.
‘We believe … that it is timely now to proceed with that work and help to lower the tensions and create the code of conduct in the next period, hopefully in preparation for the East Asia Summit,’ she said.
Yang, however, repeated China’s statements that it is ready to discuss the sea disputes only through bilateral talks in which many believe that China would have an unfair upper hand. And, he was cool to the idea of reaching an agreement before November, saying that China and some of its friends in ASEAN wanted to work only toward the ‘eventual adoption of a code of conduct.’
‘China has sovereignty over the islands in the South China Sea and the adjacent waters. There is plenty of historical and jurisprudence evidence of that,’ he said.
Yang also rejected that there was any threat to international maritime commerce from the rising tensions over the disputes, something Washington has cited for the reason that peaceful settlements of the claims are a U.S. national security interest.”
Looks like an uphill battle for poor Hillary.
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