Are the U.S. and China Making Up?

Currency and Iran deals could indicate a thaw

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On Thursday, China's agreement to attend a nuclear summit in Washington gave many hope that China would finally join the U.S. on sanctions against Iran. Today, there are hints that China could finally be easing back the currency manipulation that has tilted U.S.-China trade relations to America's detriment. Looking ahead to Chinese President Hu Jintao's April 13 visit for the nuclear summit, could the U.S.-China chill finally be thawing?

  • Obama and Hu Getting Closer   The New York Times' Andrew Jacobs reports that "Tensions between China and the United States have ebbed significantly in recent days" due to personal efforts by Presidents Hu and Obama to mend fences. Both Chinese and U.S. leadership have publicly announced their desire to strengthen ties and end the chill of the past few months.
  • 'Don't Believe It'  Financial Times' Gideon Rachman warns, "beneath the surface, I think there still are structural forces pushing the two nations towards a much more adverserial relationship." He cites irreconcilable economic tensions as well as the fights over Iran and climate change, which he notes aren't going away. "The mega-trend in the background is the rise of China and the relative decline of the US - and the expression of this will be the gradual challenge to American military hegemony in the Pacific. This will not be a comfortable process"
  • U.S. Wins Diplomatic Spat  Foreign Policy's Daniel Drezner says this has been a short-term disagreement, not a long-term split. "My take of the past six months is that the Chinese overplayed their hand very badly across an array of issues, irking not just the United States but other significant countries. In response, the U.S. has been able to exploit multilateral resentment as a way of putting subtle pressure on China to moderate its tone and actions," he writes. "For now, however, much of China's recent bluster turned out to be self-defeating."
  • We Caved to China  24/7 Wall Street's Douglas McIntyre fumes, "The US will almost certainly delay its decision about whether to label China as a 'currency manipulator', a move that will make it clear to the Chinese that they still have tremendous leverage in talks on the valuation of the yuan. [...] Obama shows that he will accommodate the Chinese even if it makes his Administration look weak."
  • Don't Overestimate Chinese Power  Mother Jones' Kevin Drum shrugs. "China's economy is probably shakier than we usually give it credit for. Not only is it built on a foundation of booming exports, but its political system requires fantastic growth rates just to remain stable," he writes. "Their brand of autocratic government is going to have a very hard time coping with a restive middle class once per capita income starts to bump up against $10,000 or so."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.