So, Obama is the next president of the US.
But what’s the take on Obama in China? How does China view Obama’s presidency, after eight years of the Bush administration where Chinese exports were embraced?
(rough translation: China is not a friend, nor an enemy. The Chinese are competitors.)
Indeed, the article from Hexun, which includes in its title “The pressure is great for Chinese foreign trade”, suggests that Obama will put dampen the foreign trade market, which previously had been such a runaway locomotive under Bush. Of course, things have already slowed down. The article mentions a letter Obama wrote to a textile organization in the US, where he promises to pressure China to float the RMB and reduce exports. On the other hand, the author suggests some common ground for the two countries, namely working together to help resolve the current financial crisis.
As for Sina, the view is more positive than you’d think as well. The author points out Obama’s reputation for pragmatism — meaning that he would always act prudently when considering any policy changes towards China.
He reminds us that Obama spent four of his formative years in Indonesia, leaving him with a positive impression of Asia. He also once visited Karachi, and was shocked by the poverty and lingering landscape of feudalism that gripped many of the citizens there. These and other experiences have influenced Obama, and helped him to make better foreign policy decisions.
He also mentions Obama’s tendency to surround himself with the best and the brightest advisors, including Jeffrey Bader of the Brookings Institution, who is described as one of today’s preeminent China experts.
Despite this, in light of the large number of Obamaâ€™s China advisors with realist positions, and even more due to the fact that America and Chinaâ€™s common interests outweigh their differences, Obamaâ€™s â€œnot a friend nor enemyâ€ and â€œcompetitorâ€ strategic position towards China is bound to be discarded about half a year after taking office, just like what happened early on in the Clinton and Bush administrations.Â His China policy will gradually become more rational and realistic.Â Compared with Bushâ€™s current China policy, when the time comes, the differences in Obamaâ€™s policy will mainly appear in issues regarding America and Chinaâ€™s economic relationship.
So, what’s the verdict? Certainly, there’s going to be pressure on China — but, on the other hand, China sees Obama as a steady hand who, when it comes to governance, will, to borrow a phrase from a Spike Lee film, do the right thing.
UPDATE: This story on the World also talks about how China views Obama…mentions that people are excited about the election as a historic moment, but also cautious in their concern that he may be more protectionist.