Analysis on the future of China-U.S. relations | Power Play with Vassy Kapelos


Mr President we know each other for a long time we haven’t always agreed which would not surprised anyone but our meetings have always been candid straightforward and useful we have to ensure that competition does not Veer into conflict and we also have to manage it responsibly at competition US President Joe Biden as

You can see there meeting with Chinese president chin ping in San Francisco today on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Summit the meeting is the first between the two in 2023 and comes as they attempt to get relations back on track after what’s fair to say or fair to characterize as a

Tumultuous year prime minister Justin Trudeau meanwhile this week would not say whether he requested a meeting of his own with the Chinese president saying only that Canada will continue to engage with China in terms of a trade relationship but also continue to highlight Canada’s concerns in other

Areas joining me now for more on all of that two people with extensive experience in the region Susan Gregson a former longtime public servant and now a distinguished fellow at the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada and former ambassador to China G sjac hello to both of you great pleasure to have you with

Me this evening I appreciate you making the time uh Mr sh Sak I’ll I’ll start with you uh the tone of the the meeting the part at least that was televised was interesting I thought the comment from president G in particular in which he he said there’s room for two superpowers

What was kind of instructive what did you take from that well I think the meeting went off to a very promising start and from my perspective it’s clear that xinping wants to improve the relationship uh as we have heard previously the economic situation of China is not very good and

Therefore the Mr she hopes to achieve some progress maybe to convince President Biden to drop some of the tariffs to as well as the ban on the export of some technology but uh uh the two KN know each other have known each other for a long time and uh let’s hope

That in the four hours that they they had together they were able to achieve quite a bit of progress Miss greggson there have been a while now that uh the Chinese president seemed to not want to amplify or warm the relationship with the West is it

Domestic pressures as as Mr s shach kind of alluded to uh the reaction to co for example the economic pressures that you think have perhaps forced him to alter his position in a bit a bit well yes I would agree with uh what G has said um and indeed um the the

President Shin ping will realize that uh the superpowers need to move forward in a constructive relationship um understanding that there are areas that they will never agree upon let me just follow up with you on that and ask what you think the prospect for improving that relationship is given

The irritants that that have uh been in existence over the last year in particular the National Security concerns really and the degree to which that fractured the relationship between the US and China do you think they’ll be able to navigate those in a more productive fashion well that is always a challenge

With uh diplomatic relations you have to keep into um keep in perspective of the areas in which you will never agree so there are issues around foreign interference just as we’ve seen in Canada um we remember the Spy balloons that wasn’t that long ago but at the

Same time we’re dealing with China as a superpower um there is no solution to many of the issues around the Global Commons without China at the table um China’s trade relationship uh with the us as it is with Canada is very important and so it’s important for

Those leaders to try to get things back on a more uh even Keel Mr S shck I wanted to ask you about the importance also just jumping off what M Gregson said about the militaries being uh in communication again which seems to be what will be the byproduct

It looks like of this meeting and and the importance of that why why does it matter that the US Military and the Chinese military are not existing in silos well we have seen in the last year a number of incidents happening in the South China Sea and the East China Sea

And in fact the Americans have been trying to convince the uh the Chinese to relaunch military to military contact and the so far the Chinese have have refused and I think it’s very important to develop code of conduct between the two militaries so that they know how to

Respond how to behave if they meet one another the other important question related to this of course is Taiwan and shinp will want to get reassurances from President Biden that he will continue to oppose uh Independence although in the in the past is the President says that it does not

Support Independence and it’s a a small but important Nuance as saying that he opposed independence and so let’s hope that the there will will be an announcement that those contacts will resume between the military and also I hope that there will be an agreement to discuss nuclear proliferation because

China has embarked on a program to expand the uh number of nuclear warheads and and this could be Troublesome down in the future Miss greggson I want to switch gears kind of slightly if I could and ask you from your perspective where Canada fits in all of this our audience

Is well familiar with the irritants in our own relationship over the last number of years with China including the Detention of two Canadians Michael cig and Michael spaer and then of course those allegations that you reference of foreign interference that kind of dominated headlines over the last year

Do do you anticipate that the federal government’s posture will sort of warm in the same way that that Joe Biden’s administration’s posture has warmed toward China or is it a different relationship altogether well um prime minister Trudeau is on record as recently as September as saying that it’s um

Premature for AR boson in the relationship um he may feel that um things are still too charged to to have um more in-depth conversations but at the same time um you know he’ll have to take into account the fact that it’s a very complex relationship um China is

Our second largest trading partner and despite the problems with the relationship the trade relationship the the trade volume has actually increased over the last year um so um and Canada as a more than any other G7 country is dependent on International Trade accounts for some 67% of our GDP and one

In six jobs so it’s going to be important at some point um in the near future I would say to try to get that trade relationship back on track Mr Sak I’ll give you the last word I just have a minute on on the same note

Uh do you agree with the assessment that the Prime Minister offers that right now might be too early for pral but like Miss greggson points out there will eventually need to be one I think so and U I was listening to what Minister jalie said in her speech

Last week at the uh the economic Forum in trto where she said that the Canan policy will Canan foreign policy will become more pragmatic and that we will have a dialogue with countries with which we have difficulty so I gather from this at at some point there will be

An effort to try to relaunch the dialogue of course we it will remain difficult and we have to be cognizant of the fact that Canada is not very important for for China they need to speak with the Americans for us well as long as they

Have a good access to our Agri food or our minerals I think they they can wait for for a while but I hope also that they will understand that their image has been tarnished and that they have also to make some concessions to to relaunch this dialogue there was a good

First step when they uh they received Minister Gilbo last summer but more needs to be done okay I’ll leave it on that note I appreciate both of you sharing your time and Analysis with us this evening Susan greggson a distinguished fellow at the Asia Pacific foundation and former

Ambassador to China Gan Shak thank you

Ex-Canadian ambassador Guy Saint-Jacques and Susan Gregson of the Asia-Pacific Foundation of Canada on the meeting between Biden and Xi.
#uspolitics #uschinarelations

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