Shi Yinhong: Obama’s Chinese Honeymoon

Shi Yinhong, professor of International Relations and director of Centre on American Studies at Renmin University of China, writes in the Guardian that relations with China initially enjoyed a boost under the Obama administration, but the decision to place tariffs on tire imports from China may indicate a turning tide:

The honeymoon may be ending, but the Chinese government still puts a high value on relations with the United States and President Obama. The relationship can weather this storm. President Obama visits Beijing in November and both parties will try to prevent this dispute spilling over into something much more serious. The Chinese government’s strong reaction (limited thus far mainly to harsh words) to Obama’s tyre tariff decision seems fuelled by its sensitivity to business and public opinion. The former fears US protectionist measures, while the latter (at least a large part of it) has long been much more critical toward the US in its relations with China than the Chinese government. “We must take a forceful posture in dealing with the US, even withdrawing from the WTO,” one Chinese internet user wrote on a bulletin board on 16 September about the tyre tariff affair, using much more moderate language than many others. “Totally boycott US goods! Sell all US treasury bonds!” another wrote on the same day.

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