Friday, April 27, 2007
A Hundred Battles
Since coining the term "China's Peaceful Rise" in 2003 to describe their intentions as a global superpower, the Chinese have encountered some skepticism from the West with regard to just how committed they are to co-operation and multi-lateralism. I tend to think that recent developments -- such as their participation in the N. Korean talks, as well as recent efforts to increase communication and openness between the Chinese and American militaries -- back up their claim.
Now, in what's got to be taken as a further sign of good intentions, China's top legislature has just appointed Yang Jiechi foreign minister. Yang had served in the Chinese Embassy in the United States for nearly 13 years during various periods since 1980, and was named ambassador to the US in 2000:
During his term in the United States, he was said to be able to balance the need to firmly defend China's national interests while maintaining smooth and stable ties with the United States.
He also won acclaim for his efforts to promote China-U.S. cooperation in fighting terrorism, improving trade ties and enhancing exchanges in law enforcement, military affairs and on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue.
The man Yang succeeds as foreign minister, Li Zhaoxing, was also his predeccesor as Ambassador to the US. So clearly, the Chinese want someone familiar with their foremost strategic rival running their diplomatic shop. What's encouraging is that Yang seems not only to be familiar with, but also on good terms with, his American counterparts.
Of course the skeptics might still quote Sun Tzu: "If you know both yourself and your enemy, you will come out of one hundred battles with one hundred victories."
To which I'd respond: "Therefore One hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the most skillful. Seizing the enemy without fighting is the most skillful."