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July 13 "Dealing with the Chinese" with Douglas Paal, President, Asia-Pacific Policy Center.

Mr. Douglas Paal spoke about the current state of U.S.-China relations as well as what the Congressional staff group should expect when they arrive in China, topics they are likely to discuss with their Chinese counterparts, and how to handle discussion of sensitive subjects. Paal contended that the Bush administration’s characterization of China as a “strategic competitor? has resulted in a primary emphasis on its relations with U.S. allies. However, trade relations with China would remain strong. He shared his view that the administration got off to a shaky start in its relationship with China, but that many of those early problems would not have played out any differently if there had been a Democrat in the White House. A Gore administration would have had to still deal with immediate trade issues, weapons sales to Taiwan, the surveillance plane crash, and the Olympic vote. Paal further examined how the United States can segue out of all these thorny issues into a more useful framework. He stated that the United States now stands in a relatively stronger strategic position than China, and therefore China interprets every move the United States makes as a move against them. Despite this dynamic, Paal said that the United States could still engage China while continuing to have a strong defense posture. Specifically, Paal examined what the administration wants from China in the short and long term. Included were the release of the U.S.-Chinese scholars, improvement of U.S. commercial purchasing rights in China, cooperation on the Korean Peninsula, curbing of encroachment into countries like Burma and Cambodia. Finally, Paal stated that the future of U.S.-China relations appears to have the components for improvement because China has the desire to work on building a strong relationship with the United States.
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