Scenes from a recent Camden Conference
The articles below provide information and background on the subject of the 2011 Camden Conference.
By Hannah Beech for TIME, February 21, 2011
How, my overseas friends asked me, had I survived living in a battleground? Given that some of my journalistic colleagues were living in real war zones, the question was almost embarrassing. Life in Bangkok, with its gilded temples and hedonistic spas, shouldn’t have been worthy of commiseration. And yet, it is true: last year, after months of antigovernment protests that paralyzed the business district, the Thai capital convulsed in violence.
By Thomas Pickering for Foreign Policy, February 4, 2011
Egypt is in a situation of crisis and potential sea change. No one is sure precisely how it will end. But in every possible scenario, the United States has two principle national interests in Egypt and in the region: First, promoting some kind of stability, and second, supporting some kind of change. The struggle for American foreign policy will be to keep the balance of these two particular questions right, even as we move ahead in a situation in which there are several uncertainties.
By Mac Deford for The Free Press, February 3, 2011
Chinese President Hu Jintao’s visit to Washington last week, obviously planned to coincide with the upcoming Camden Conference, underlined the relevance of this year’s topic, “The Challenges of Asia.”
Remarks to the Global Strategy Forum in London by Ambassador Chas W. Freeman, Jr., January 20, 2010.
Napoleon is said to have predicted that, when China woke from its slumbers, it would “astonish the world.” The Little Corporal was a loquacious fellow who got much wrong but he seems to have gotten this right. In a mere three decades, China has risen from impotence and backwardness to a leading position in global affairs. This year it will become the second biggest producer of goods and services, something projected just five years ago to happen only in 2020. China is clearly on the way to regaining its historic position as the world’s largest economy, displacing the United States. (Given continued rapid growth in the Chinese economy, slow growth elsewhere, and progressive revaluation of the Renminbi Yuan, this could happen much sooner than many expect.) The prospect of transcendent Chinese wealth and power, coupled with America’s devaluation of its own political and economic prestige, has led to mounting speculation about China’s emergence as a global hegemon to rival and, perhaps in time, surpass the United States.
By John Pomfret for The Washington Post, January 21, 2011
Chinese President Hu Jintao’s just-concluded summit with President Obama was a win both for the Communist Party and for Hu himself, demonstrating once again the Chinese government’s reliance on ceremony to bolster its standing among its people. China’s state-run newspapers ran enormous photographs of Hu with Obama, a not-so-subtle message that China is now the United States’ equal on the world stage.
By Fred Hiatt for The Washington Post, January 21, 2011
When President Obama on Wednesday expressed the hope that “30 years from now, we will have seen further evolution” in China’s respect for human rights, I thought about Geng He, who had come to visit me the day before.
Geng He, 43, is a soft-spoken woman who doesn’t know whether her husband, Gao Zhisheng, is dead or alive. She knows that over the past five years, he has been repeatedly tortured by Chinese security agents. She knows that he was last seen nine months ago, when some of those agents spirited him away. She’s pretty sure that he has not been charged with a crime, but the government will not say where he is.
Gao is not a dissident. He is something China’s government apparently finds even more threatening: a lawyer who has sought, while adhering scrupulously to Chinese law, to represent dissidents, members of religious minorities and other victims of Communist Party repression.
By Christina Larson for Foreign Policy, January 19, 2011
Until recently, the Chinese paradox that most puzzled Western audiences was how to understand a country that is both communist and hyper-capitalist. But that is hardly the only, or even the most striking, paradox of the modern Middle Kingdom. China is fast on its way to becoming a global superpower, even as it grapples with such enormous domestic challenges as supplying enough energy to keep its cities lit, absorbing millions of rural migrants into cities each year, reining in choking pollution, creating a social safety net, and attempting to lift millions out of poverty. Although China holds $1 trillion in U.S. debt, its per capita GDP is still roughly one-tenth that of the United States. Beijing is subsidizing China’s fast-growing clean-tech export industry, even as the skies above the country’s largest cities remain a hazy gray. Such seeming contradictions are dazzlingly confusing to outsiders — and sometimes to China’s own leaders.
By Helene Cooper for The New York Times, January 17, 2011
President Hu Jintao of China is coming to town Tuesday, and American officials say President Obama will be taking a far more assertive stance as he greets his biggest global economic rival.
By Fred Hill for the Bangor Daily News, January 16, 2011
Vital economic issues, the provocative behavior of North Korea and climate change proposals are sure to dominate Chinese President Hu Jintao’s important meetings with President Barack Obama in Washington this week.
But it should be no surprise if at some point during their discussions, quietly out of the public eye, the two men devote time to a territory that encompasses no more than 4 square kilometers of land — a few blocks of Washington in total land mass.
Wall Street Journal, January 16, 2011
The Wall Street Journal submitted a series of questions for Chinese President Hu Jintao ahead of his visit to the U.S. from Jan. 18 to 21. The Washington Post also submitted questions. China’s Foreign Ministry supplied responses from Mr. Hu to seven questions.
By David Sanger and Michael Wines for The New York Times, January 16, 2011
With President Hu Jintao at the helm, China has become a $5 trillion industrial colossus, a growing military force, and, it sometimes appears, a model of authoritarian decisiveness, navigating out of the global financial crisis and sealing its position as the world’s fastest rising power.
By Ariana Eunjung Cha for The Washington Post, January 14, 2011
Will the two presidents announce breakthrough deals on the Chinese currency, North Korea, Taiwan or other highly sensitive issues? Or will the visit be mostly symbolic — a way for President Obama to show China the respect the Chinese feel they deserve?
By Henry A. Kissinger for The Washington Post, January 14, 2011
The upcoming summit between the American and Chinese presidents is to take place while progress is being made in resolving many of the issues before them, and a positive communique is probable. Yet both leaders also face an opinion among elites in their countries emphasizing conflict rather than cooperation.
By Josh Rogin for Foreign Policy, January 13, 2011
“President Hu, I know, will try to showcase the beginning of what everybody outside the Beltway hopes is a wave of Chinese investment into this country, and I think there are some suggestions that there may be hope in that direction,” said Charles Freeman Jr. of CSIS. “But I’m not sure that some of the messaging there is going to be effective enough to overcome a lot of the negativity surrounding currency and some of the market access questions.”
By Andrew Kohut for Wall Street Journal, January 13, 2011
When Chinese President Hu Jintao visits Washington next week, he will be greeted by an American public that looks to Asia—rather than to Europe—as the region of the world most important to U.S. interests. This marks a major change from the 1990s, when Americans still considered Europe more important than Asia, even despite concern about Japan’s supposed ascendance. Today, Europe has taken a back seat.
By Scott Wilson for Washington Post, January 13, 2011
President Obama met for more than an hour Thursday at the White House with five advocates for greater civil liberties and human rights in China, just days before Chinese President Hu Jintao’s arrival in Washington for a state visit.
By Sewell Chant for The New York Times, January 12, 2011
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner suggests a fresh start in relations between the United States and China, aimed at mutually beneficial economic growth.
In a speech at Johns Hopkins University, one week before the state visit of China’s president, Hu Jintao, Mr. Geithner said the two countries would benefit by being more than rivals.
By John Pomfret for The Washington Post, January 12, 2011
With the test of a stealth fighter jet Tuesday, just hours before U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates met with Chinese President Hu Jintao, the Chinese military provided a blunt demonstration of its willingness to challenge both the United States and its own president.
By Elizabeth C. Economy for Council on Foreign Relations , January 11, 2011
I spend a lot of time thinking and writing about what I would like to see China do to improve relations with the United States. Given the visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao to the United States next week, I thought it might be interesting to see what some of my friends and colleagues across the Pacific recommend for U.S. policy towards China. Let me begin by noting that there was far less written in this vein than I had anticipated…but here is a good sample of what I found:
By David Rothkopf for Foreign Policy, January 11, 2011
You can tell a lot about a major summit between world leaders by what happens in the weeks leading up to it. That’s when staff scurry around trying to nail down “deliverables” — agreements that might be signed, initialed, announced, dusted off, and signed again, that sort of thing — and fine tune the optics of the upcoming meeting. Tensions are typically defused in advance. Good news is often played up to produce a positive mood.
That’s just what has been happening in the run up to the visit of China’s President Hu Jintao to Washington.
By Keith Bradsher for New York Times, January 10, 2011
The military authorization law signed by President Obama on Friday contains a little-noticed “Buy American” provision for the Defense Department purchases of solar panels — a provision that is likely to dismay Chinese officials as President Hu Jintao prepares to visit the United States next week.
By Josh Rogin for Foreign Policy, January 4, 2011
Several senior Obama administration Asia officials are set to either leave government or move to new jobs within the bureaucracy in the coming months, as the White House tries to hit the reset button on U.S.-China relations.
As part of a cautious warming of U.S.-China relations in the early days of President Barack Obama’s term, his administration elected to postpone arms sales to Taiwan and a visit by the Dalai Lama in 2009. Beijing was pleased, but that evaporated when the arms sales went through in January 2010 and the visit went ahead in February 2010. That month, China responded by breaking off U.S.-China military-to-military relations.
By Kathrin Hille Financial Times, December 29, 2010
In a matter of days, the situation on the Korean peninsula appears to have switched from the brink of war to hope for new dialogue. The North’s restraint over the past week and the South’s new willingness to resume six-party talks, however, may owe more to Chinese efforts than a volte-face by Seoul.
PBS NewsHour, December 10, 2010
On a day that put China’s human rights record back in the spotlight, Judy Woodruff speaks with Susan Shirk of the University of California’s Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation and Gordon Chang, an author and columnist for Forbes.com, about China’s boycott of the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony and its foreign policy.
Chas W. Freeman, Jr. Remarks at the Hopkins – Nanjing Center, Middle East Policy Council, November 10, 2010
It is only natural that when Chinese and Americans meet these days, we should discuss the changing balance between us. There is indeed a shift in relative economic and military power. It is less profound than many imagine. More important, in our mutual fascination with our bilateral interaction, Americans and Chinese often fail to notice a set of transformations with much more far-reaching implications for both of us. The international geometry within which we conduct our respective foreign policies is morphing in ways that demand major adjustments in the strategies of all the world’s powers, including both China and the United States. Inherited strategies are unlikely to fit the new circumstances without substantial, ongoing adjustment. Entirely new policies may be more appropriate and efficacious. This was the case after World War II as well. The United States then rose to the challenge of geopolitical change. The absence of a comparable American response this time is striking.
By Robert D. Kaplan for The American Interest Online, January-February 2011 Issue
Covering the war in Afghanistan in the 1980s, I learned that most of the land mines that the Soviets laid were designed to maim, not kill. The Soviets knew that a dead body causes no tactical inconvenience. It only removes the one dead person from the field. But a wounded person requires the assistance of people all the way down the line who could otherwise be fighting. Likewise with the home front in a war. The dead leave an awful vacancy in the lives of loved ones, but those who are seriously wounded or psychologically traumatized can disrupt families and society more. Families of the dead can move on, as difficult as it may be, and as awful as it may be to say; the families of the seriously maimed, physically or psychologically, never can.
By Richard Holbrooke for the Washington Post, December 15, 2008
The opening with China by Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger in 1971-72 is justly remembered as a historic breakthrough. Less famous but of equal importance was the next major step: the establishment of full diplomatic relations between China and the United States. Without this action, announced by President Jimmy Carter on Dec. 15, 1978, the relationship could not have moved beyond a small, high-level connection with a very limited agenda.
By Keith Bradsher for the New York Times, December 14, 2010
Trade lawyers say that setting any local content requirement — let alone one stipulating such a high domestic share — was a violation of the rules of the World Trade Organization, the international body that China had joined just four years earlier. Joanna I. Lewis, a Georgetown University professor who is a longtime adviser to Chinese policy makers on wind energy, said she and others had repeatedly warned Beijing that the local-content policy risked provoking a W.T.O. challenge by other countries.
By David Ignatius for the Washington Post, December 8, 2010
The paradox of a rising China – a country that wants to play a bigger role in global affairs but suffers from a combination of lethargy and stage fright – was on display here at a conference with Chinese officials.
“China needs to be less of an observer and more of an actor” on major issues such as North Korea and currency adjustments, one senior Chinese official declared during the meeting.
“When we’re on the stage, we shouldn’t turn our back on the audience, as if we’re part of the audience.”
And yet, when it came to proposing solutions during a meeting last Friday with American and European visitors, the Chinese were cautious. Officials didn’t disagree that North Korea and the imbalances in the global economy were big problems. But their recommendations focused on discussion rather than action – to the point that harmonious talk seemed an end in itself.
By John Pomfret for the Washington Post, December 6, 2010
The United States has stepped up diplomatic pressure on China by accusing its leaders of “enabling” North Korea to start a uranium-enrichment program and to launch attacks on South Korea, a senior U.S. administration official said this weekend.
By Elizabeth Economy for Foreign Policy, December 2010
For all the breathless headlines, there is no real clarity as to what kind of global power China will become over the next critical decade. But if the international community is in the dark about China’s 21st-century trajectory, it is likely because there is no real consensus among the Chinese themselves.
By Kishore Mahbubani for NEWSWEEK , November 29, 2010
For most of the 20th century, Asia asked itself what it could learn from the modern, innovating West. Now the question must be reversed: what can the West’s overly indebted and sluggish nations learn from a flourishing Asia?
By David Leonhardt for the New York Times, November 24, 2010
When the Wuqi International Hotel was completed this spring, it immediately dominated the modest skyline of Wuqi, a small city in north central China. The hotel stands 21 stories tall and is wrapped in gleaming gray metal, with two glass elevators running up the outside. On a recent stay there, I had a clear view of the nearby mountains from my 19th-floor room.
By John Pomfret for The Washington Post, November 22, 2010
The North Korean government told a team of visiting American experts last week that it would effectively dismantle one of its nuclear weapons programs if the United States again pledged that it had “no hostile intent” toward the government of Kim Jong Il, a member of the delegation said.
By Christian Caryl for New York Review of Books, November 20, 2010
Napoleon famously described China as a sleeping giant that would shake the world when it finally awoke. Well, now the giant is up and about, and the rest of us can’t help but notice. 2010, indeed, could well end up being remembered as the year when China started throwing its weight around.
By Matthew Simmons, President, for Simmons & Company International, 1998
“I began analyzing detailed data on oil and gas demand in the late 1980s as it became more apparent that the Great Oil Field Depression would never end until demand for oil and gas throughout the world finally ate through the massive overhang of supply. Over the ensuing years, I have been fascinated in watching the rapid growth in the demand for hydrocarbons in almost every part of the world, but in particular the soaring demand for petroleum products from the rapidly expanding Asian economies.”
Download a PDF of this complete paper here.
By Hannah Beech for TIME, November 15, 2010
President Barack Obama attacked China’s policy of undervaluing its currency minutes after he and other Group of 20 leaders ended a summit that failed to agree on a remedy for trade and investment distortions.
In a country where rivers run black, endangered animals are turned into dinner and air pollution wraps cities in a haze the color of dirty socks, it can be hard to imagine anyone in China being an ally of the environment. But historian Liang Congjie, who died Oct. 28 at 78, made history himself in 1994 as the founder of Friends of Nature, China’s first officially recognized environmental NGO.
By Michael Forsythe and Julianna Goldman for Bloomberg, November 12, 2010
President Barack Obama attacked China’s policy of undervaluing its currency minutes after he and other Group of 20 leaders ended a summit that failed to agree on a remedy for trade and investment distortions.
“It is undervalued,” Obama said of the yuan, speaking to reporters in Seoul after the meeting concluded. “And China spends enormous amounts of money intervening in the market to keep it undervalued.”
The G-20 leaders agreed to develop early warning indicators to head off economic turmoil as emergency talks on Ireland’s debt reminded them the recovery from the global financial crisis remains fragile. Obama and his South Korean counterpart, Lee Myung Bak, failed to complete a free-trade agreement.
Joshua Kurlantzick for Council on Foreign Relations, November 10, 2010
Of course, President Obama’s trip to Indonesia is going to seem like a success. Having canceled two times before, the president built up anticipation in the country, and a large range of celebrations have been organized to mark his “return home.” Obama and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono formally inaugurated the multifaceted “comprehensive partnership” designed to upgrade relations between Jakarta and Washington on a wide range of issues. Obama also gave a well-received speech admitting that the U.S. needs to do much more to improve its ties to the Muslim world.
But as Obama leaves, how can we tell if the visit was more than a high-profile photo op?
Ray Suarez for PBS Newshour, November 8, 2010
President Obama’s endorsement of India’s demand for a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council reflects the country’s growing global weight. The announcement came on the president’s first stop on a 10-day Asian trip.
BBC, November 7, 2010
On his way to Australia for annual security talks, Mr Gates said closer ties with Australia would help the US expand its role in South East Asia.
The US would focus on fighting piracy, improving counter-terrorism, disaster aid and cyber-security, he said. He said the US move was not to contain China, which is engaged in various territorial disputes in the region.
(See article for map of Chinese territorial claims)
A Special Report from Foreign Policy, November 5, 2010
It’s been a tough week for Barack Obama, who is reeling from a crushing midterm election defeat, yet more bad economic news, and a domestic agenda under assault. No doubt the U.S. president is thrilled to be leaving Washington Friday on a 10-day tour of Asia, where he’ll be welcomed by four democratic countries that are nervously watching the foundations of American supremacy crumble before their eyes, while China’s growing economic swagger and military might shakes up the region’s balance of power.
By Phil Levy for Foreign Policy, November 2, 2010
We’re in the analytical interlude between bursts of G-20 news stories. Late last month, G-20 finance ministers met to seek agreement in advance of their bosses’ gathering. On Nov. 11-12, G-20 leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama, will gather in Seoul for their second meeting of the year. In between, there is a nice opportunity to reflect on the question of whether the G-20 matters at all. Recent events suggest it may not.
The Economist, October 28, 2010
BARACK OBAMA is expected to arrive in India next week in time for Diwali, the subcontinent’s festival of light. In Delhi and Mumbai a machinegun racket of firecrackers and joyful whooping will enliven the night, and Mr Obama should make the most of it. Nothing in his official business looks likely to set the sky alight.
Under his predecessor, relations between India and America improved hugely. George Bush saw democratic India as a counterweight to China; India’s prime minister, Manmohan Singh, also wanted closer ties. The result was a 2005 civil nuclear co-operation agreement, which conferred longed-for respectability on India’s hitherto pariah nuclear programme. That is a lot for Mr Obama to live up to.
By Patricia Zengerle in Washington D.C. for Reuters, October 28, 2010
President Barack Obama will visit Indonesia’s largest mosque and make a major outdoor speech directed at the global Muslim community when he visits Indonesia next month, the White House said on Thursday.
Obama leaves on November 5 on a 10-day trip to India, Indonesia, South Korea and Japan. On November 10 in Jakarta, Obama will visit the Istiqlal Mosque, and then make his speech from another, outdoor location, where there could be a large crowd. “He’ll have a chance to talk about the partnership that we’re building with Indonesia, but also to talk about some of the themes of democracy and development and our outreach to Muslim communities around the world,” deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes told a news conference.
By Geoff Dyer in Bejing for Financial Times Oct. 19, 2010
In its 61-year history, the People’s Republic of China has only ever had one orderly change of leadership, when Hu Jintao assumed the reins of power in 2002-03. Now China looks to be on course for a second smooth transition.
After being appointed on Monday as a vice-chairman of the body that runs China’s military, Xi Jinping is firmly entrenched as the leader-in-waiting, given that he now holds senior positions in China’s three branches of power – the Communist party (he is a member of the politburo’s nine-man standing committee), the state (as vice-president) and, finally, the military.
The strong betting is that Mr Xi, 57, will follow the same path established by the 67-year-old Mr Hu in his rise to power a decade before, becoming general secretary of the party in late 2012 and then president of the country in 2013.
By Fareed Zakaria for TIME Magazine Oct. 7, 2010
I love the idea of bipartisanship. Just the image of Democrats and Republicans coming together makes me smile. “Finally,” I say to myself, “American government is working.” But then I look at what they actually agree on, and I begin to pine for paralysis.
On Sept. 29, the House of Representatives passed a bill with overwhelming support from both Democrats and Republicans. It would punish China for keeping its currency undervalued by slapping tariffs on Chinese goods. Everyone seems to agree that it’s about time. But it isn’t.
By Adam Segal for Foreign Affairs Sept. 28, 2010
If you want to get to the bottom of indigenous innovation, the Chinese policy so deeply aggravating Western businesses and governments, look at the bottom of your DVD player. Most likely, the machine was made in China. For Beijing’s leaders, that is part of the problem: for every Chinese-made DVD player sold, the Chinese manufacturer must pay a large royalty fee to the European or Japanese companies that patented various components of the unit, such as its optical reader. These foreign firms reap substantial profits, but the Chinese take is extremely small — and is shrinking further as energy, labor, and commodity prices rise. Policymakers in Beijing, looking to strengthen China’s economy, are no longer satisfied with the country’s position as the world’s manufacturer. Their solution is to break China’s dependence on foreign technology, moving from a model of “made in China” to one of “innovated in China.”
By Robert Kaplan for The Washington Post Sept. 26, 2010
The greatest geopolitical development that has occurred largely beneath the radar of our Middle East-focused media over the past decade has been the rise of Chinese sea power. This is evinced by President Obama’s meeting Friday about the South China Sea, where China has conducted live-fire drills and made territorial claims against various Southeast Asian countries, and the dispute over the Senkaku Islands between Japan and China in the East China Sea, the site of a recent collision between a Chinese fishing trawler and two Japanese coast guard ships.
By Kayla Webly for Time Magazine Sept. 15, 2010
Deborah Fallows and her husband, the Atlantic’s James Fallows, are no strangers to life in a foreign country. Over the course of their careers they’ve upped sticks and moved to foreign lands, from Africa to Southeast Asia. But even their many years as expatriates could not have prepared them for what they would experience throughout their three years living in a country as overwhelming and chaotic as China. In her book, Dreaming in Chinese: Mandarin Lessons in Life, Love, and Language, Fallows, who holds a Ph.D. in linguistics from Harvard University, details the struggles and triumphs she had while learning one of the world’s most difficult languages. She spoke to TIME about what her study of Mandarin taught her about life in China, the country’s dizzying transformation and the value of learning languages.
By Reva Bhalla for www.stratfor.com Sept. 9, 2010
Analyst Reva Bhalla explores South Asian stakeholders’ intentions and concerns following China’s reported deployment of military personnel to Kashmir.
By Dan Twining for Foreign Policy, August 6, 2010
President Obama will visit India on a state visit in early November. I recently returned from New Delhi, and it was a trip that revealed a mix of hope and ambivalence that awaits the president’s arrival.
On the positive side of the ledger, developments over the past few months have diminished India’s sense that U.S. diplomacy has neglected Asia’s key rising democracy after a bad stretch early in the Obama administration. Undersecretary of State Bill Burns delivered a terrific speech in June that declared America’s vital interest in India’s rise and Washington’s desire to facilitate it — a geopolitical vision that has been lacking since President Bush left office. Counterterrorism cooperation has intensified since the United States allowed Indian officials to interrogate captured terrorist suspect David Headley and explore his connections to Pakistani militant groups. The Obama administration has softened its line about dramatically drawing down troops from Afghanistan starting next summer, encouraging Indians and others to hope that the president will see the mission through to some minimally satisfactory conclusion.
By Richard Lugar, The Jakarta Post, July 6, 2010
The Indonesia-US relationship continues to strengthen. It received an important boost when President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono proposed in 2008 a Comprehensive Partnership between the two countries. In 2009, Secretary of State Clinton and Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda announced agreement to implement the proposal. We must not let this and other successes in our bilateral relations be overshadowed by the latest postponement of President Obama’s much-anticipated trip to Indonesia. While there is understandable disappointment in Indonesia, neither White House scheduling problems nor the subsequent glee emanating from a few anti-American pockets in Indonesia should detract from a growing relationship.
By Elizabeth Economy and Adam Segal for Foreign Policy, May 24, 2010
“This is not a G-2.” With those words, Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg finally sounded on May 11 at the Brookings Institution the death knell for the much-touted, if misguided, idea that China and the United States would band together to solve the world’s problems.
By Robert Kaplan for Foreign Affairs May/June 2010
Thanks to the country’s favorable location on the map, China’s inﬂuence is expanding on land and at sea, from Central Asia to the South China Sea and from the Russian Far East to the Indian Ocean.