Tue Jan 10, 2012
The US has recently announced its new defense strategy to expand the country's military presence in the Asia-Pacific in a bid to switch the Pentagon's focus to the Far East.

China says the accusations leveled against the country in the new United States defense strategy are "groundless" and "untrustworthy" and aim to counter the Asian country's growing power.

Tensions have escalated since the US said it would strengthen its military presence in the Asia-Pacific as China is concerned that Washington's new defense stance is aimed at encircling Beijing.

There are rising concerns in the United States about the growing size and capabilities of the Chinese military. The US demands that China clarify its strategic intent as its military power grows.

Press TV has talked to Paul James, host of China Radio International from Beijing to discuss the situation. The following is an approximate transcription of the interview:

Press TV: Washington has said that there is some regional friction involved and because of that it's going to expand it's military presence in the region. Mr. James, do you think Washington does see China as a security threat at least in the long term?

James: Yes and no, there is a larger question that lies in here and it's one of intent, whether or not Beijing is putting out the signal, I guess if you want to put it in that respect, toward how it's going to react to the situation across the Taiwan strait.

The issue of Taiwan of course is one of paramount importance for Beijing, because Beijing considers Taiwan to be a renegade province and one that eventually will be readmitted with the mainland.

Um, there are political issues there and in particular this year as our colleague from Washington was just mentioning one of the big issues is going to be the election in Taiwan which is going to take place very soon, which is going to shape the way in which Beijing approaches its policies, moving forward as far as its strategies, as far as its military is concerned.

You've got other issues which are of course heating up as well, which was also mentioned, the United States of course trying to put its sphere of influence in there vis-a-vie its allies, with the Philippines and with Japan and as well, sort of as they say sticking its nose in the situation.

So it'll be interesting to see how this year plays out as far as the defense policy and the defense strategy is comparing in Beijing, also given the fact that you have a leadership change coming up here in Beijing as well.

Press TV: Mr. James, looking at the relations now between China and the US would you agree with this analysis that the US is just keeping an appearance of maintaining a cooperative relation with China since it is bending more towards Japan and could there be some kind of confrontation, even a military one, between the two sides?

James: Well, the currency swap issue is one of growing interest here in China, the authorities here in Beijing have been pressing to- they call it internationalize Renminbi, the Chinese currency, by initiating these currency swaps to try to divest itself away from the US dollar.

Now to the extent of which this is actually going to create any sort of grandeur, a use of the Chinese currency in the world market is yet to be seen because there is still a lot of work that needs to be internationalized and make the Renminbi be a tradable currency, a usable currency within the basket of currencies themselves.

That being said, of course economics do play a very critical role in the way in which Beijing and the United States approach the relationship because the mass scale of their economies, the lay in which their economies are so interlinked because of the consumer-driven economy of the United States and of course still much largely an export-driven economy by China.

That being said, with the Chinese now pushing away from their export-driven economy and trying to build up a domestically-driven economy, the reliance on exports to the United States dwindles down and we've already seen over the last few months a little bit more protectionism here in China as far as its economy is concerned.

They're talking about becoming more protective of, not just imports from places, from the United States, but of the the way in which technology transfers are handled in terms of this nature, which is creating tensions not just on the trade side but also on the geo-political front.

And to say that it may lead to some sort of armed conflict, I think might be a bit of a stretch at this point but it's certainly not helping much as far as the overall relationship is concerned.


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