US-China: `We can be friendly, but we have to be very careful` - US expert

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US-China: `We can be friendly, but we have to be very careful` - US expert
Published 11-06-2013, 09:26
Over the weekend President Barack Obama hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping at an estate Rancho Mirage outside of Palm Springs, California. There were a number of issues on the table. However, cyber security seems to be one that is of particular interest to the American President. And to get more details about the outcome of this summit the Voice of Russia had an exclusive interview with Anna Han, Professor of Law at Santa Clara University with an emphasize on Chinese law.

Anna, give us an idea about how the seemingly amicable meeting between President Obama and President Xi Jinping went over the weekend?

I think from both sides it went very well. For China a lot of it was in the fact that the summit gave them opportunity to talk as equals. The discussed the issues concerning North Korea, which is a very big worldwide concern, and some progress in the environmental sphere. I think it was a success.

And the coverage that President's Xi visit was seemingly very favorable as President Xi is being categorized as somewhat of a reformer coming out of a Communist Party. This was an unofficial visit. However, it lacked a lot of the circumstance that generally surrounds state visit. And this was President Xi's request. Was it not?

Yes, and I think this was also really important. As we all know, he invited President Obama for a similar kind of a return visit. And this is important, because, as you know, the Notion of Guanxi or relationship is crucial here. And this kind of more casual one-to-one conversation allows two men, two presidents to get to know each other. And I think that is going to be very important for both countries.

The issue of cyber security being raised at the summit sort of took an ironic tone as the scandal surrounding the National Security Agencies broke last week. What were your thoughts about the timing of the story?

I think it is ironic and it makes it perhaps a little bit harder for President Obama to raise this issue. But it is obviously different, because in one sense he thinks that they are doing this for national security in their country, but they don't want foreign countries, China, for instance, to come and spy on them.

Regarding the fact that this whistleblower, Snowden, has taken refuge in Hong Kong — frankly, it isn't the best choice, because the U.S. And Hong Kong do have an extradition treaty.

In terms of other items on the agenda, you mentioned North Korea. Over the weekend North and South Korea have agreed to a high level meeting between their government officials to take place this week. What role will China play in what happens with either the nuclearization of North Korea or with helping to strengthen ties between the two Koreas on that peninsula?


I think one outcome of the summit that I thought was very significant was that China actually agreed that North Korea cannot be a nuclear power. And China is the only major North Korea's ally. So that will go a long way towards signalling to North Korea that they cannot act up unless they want to turn their back on their major ally. I think its' very significant.

Professor, how would you classify the American-Chinese relationship on a political level and on an economic level? Clearly, China is America's number one trading partner. But are we friendly or are we not friendly?

I think the answer is — we can be friendly, but we have to be very careful. The world is now tied together. The Chinese economy, whether it is successful or not, can easily affect American economy, because we're so closely linked together. So when it comes to trade, investment, the two countries have every reason to try to act amicably and peacefully.

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