Los Angeles, Jan. 26 (CNA) Two American media commentators called on the United States on Saturday to rethink its China strategy and urged China to resolve issues with Taiwan by peaceful means.
In an op-ed piece in the Los Angeles Times, Gary Schmitt and Dan Blumenthal said U.S. Senate committees will soon vote on U.S. President Barack Obama's nominees for the heads for the departments of State and Defense and the CIA, and that many questions will focus on the U.S.' security issues in the Middle East.
Quoting from a 2005 speech by former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick to make their point, Schmitt and Blumenthal said the U.S. will also have to examine the Obama administration's rebalance in the Asia-Pacific region and its China strategy.
"China's choices about Taiwan will send an important message too.... It is important for China to resolve its differences with Taiwan peacefully," they quoted Zoellick as saying.
Despite warming ties between China and Taiwan, Beijing's military buildup has never relented, Schmitt and Blumenthal said.
"China has taken an even more aggressive posture toward its neighbors, with confrontations with Japan in the East China Sea and Vietnam and the Philippines in the South China Sea," they said in the article.
They also questioned China's lack of transparency in terms of its military power, its attempt to keep its currency undervalued to favor its exports, limitations on foreign access to its markets and the lack of efforts in the fight against intellectual property piracy and commercial cyber-espionage.
This assessment of China's behavior "reinforces the (U.S.) administration's rationale for upping America's strategic game in the Asia-Pacific region," the commentators said.
The U.S. Senate should be asking how the national security team will make this goal a reality despite cuts in the defense budget, they added.
The assessment also means that "to the extent engagement is pursued, it should be with an eye to what is mutually and concretely beneficial, not with the expectation that the process itself will lead to China's transformation," the writers said.
"The first step for the new secretaries of State and Defense in getting it right must be to understand what engagement can and can't do, and to realize it is unlikely that China will become a member in good standing of the liberal international order until its leaders have made the decision to become liberal at home," they concluded.
Schmitt is director of the Marilyn Ware Center for Securities Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, and Blumenthal is director of Asian Studies at the American Enterprise Institute.
(By Oscar Wu and Jamie Wang)