From the Wall Street Journal: American and Chinese officials said all the right things during this summer’s inaugural round of their Strategic and Economic Dialogue. President Barack Obama pledged to “forge a path to the future that we seek for our children.” Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo wondered aloud whether America and China can “build better relations despite very different social systems, cultures and histories.” He answered his own question, in English, with a “Yes we can.”
They can, but they probably won’t. Yes, Mr. Obama will visit China in November. But when it comes to international burden-sharing, Washington is focused on geopolitical headaches while China confines its heavy-lifting to geoeconomic challenges. The two sides have good reason to cooperate, but there’s a growing gap between what Washington expects from Beijing and what the Chinese can deliver.
Companies like General Electric Co., Toshiba Corp.’s Westinghouse Electric Co. unit and France’s Areva SA are jockeying for more than $1 trillion worth of contracts for reactors worldwide in the coming decade.
China is buying and building hundreds of nuclear reactors from now to 2030. In the range of 35-50% of all nuclear reactors that are expected in the world. The US wants to get a piece of that multi-hundred billion dollar action. Plus China will be moving up the learning curve on nuclear energy technology and the flow of technical expertise will be flowing back to the USA more and more.
Obstacles to Strategic partnership.
First, both governments remain largely focused on formidable domestic challenges
Second, there’s the bureaucratic problem
Third Beijing has little appetite for a larger geopolitical role
China is not free riding. China is funding the US debt and providing a global economic growth engine.