The international relationships between the USA and China have become one of the most frequently heard political issues today. This is why it is vital to keep a strict eye on what is going on between two super states so that to be aware of the next steps they may initiate. The press conference which took place in China on the 5th of September, 2012 between Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, and Chinese Foreign Minister, Yang Jiechi, is the core theme of the paper. In this vein, it is vital to highlight the theoretical tradition of international relations that best describes the conversation between two officials. Thus, Constructivism is best applicable to the form and the tone of the conference. With some additional tints of Realism, the theoretical approach toward this conference becomes complete.
Primarily, the Constructivism theory seeks to find out how international relations cohere with the “international political economy”. In this respect social structures and the current state of affairs between two or more nations should be taken into consideration for further debates on either positive or negative effects caused by either party. Earlier, Constructivism was seen in a purely materialist approach. However, today, it is viewed in a socially constructed perspective. Hence, the relationships between the US and China pay more attention to the sociopolitical framework.
Looking at what Hillary Clinton says about China and its significance for the United States, it is clear that America relies on further partnership with Chinese people due to the growing performance of China in the international arena. To be precise, Mrs. Clinton admits the significance of consultations with China on the current issues in the Asia Pacific area and in the Middle East. It was a vital step for Clinton to get Chinese approval in many points, even though she remarks that both countries have different viewpoints on some international issues. In this respect Secretary Clinton admits the following idea, namely: “So it means we can cooperate on a much broader range of issues, but we do not see eye-to-eye on everything”.
To say more, sovereignty of both states outlines their ability to act coherently in terms of some issues and to refuse supporting either part in terms of some other issues. Yet, America and China have no consensus on the Syrian issue. However, Secretary Clinton made several tries to highlight this aspect of the conference. China is worried by the growing presence of the American armed forces in the Asia Pacific area. Obviously, America aims at denuclearization of North Korea, whilst China sees a danger from outside due to its stable and enormous economic and political growth and influence.
Nevertheless, both countries are united against the cyber attacks and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. In terms of constructivist theory, both countries share the same views and ideas on these issues. This is why their partnership in managing those mismatches is especially valued by both sides. Moreover, Secretary Clinton did not state any invading interests in the South China Sea, in particular. This official statement is interpreted as a strong effort to maintain “peace and stability, respect for international law, freedom of navigation, and unimpeded lawful commerce”. It is another point on constructivist vision of both sides during the conference.
The talk between two officials of the highest echelon of power was rationally built up, that is, it followed the prescriptions of Constructivism. Mutual perception of friendship, fairness, and justice between two countries serve as the key determinants for further constructive dialogues on the international politics in the near future. Hence, it is apparent that America sees China as a strategic partner in decreasing threat coming from North Korea which seems to be more dangerous with its few units of nuclear weapon compared to a huge amount of the same weapon stored, for instance, in the UK or in China. Thus, a constructive talk on these issues was pivotal for Mrs. Clinton.
One more point discussed during the conference is on the Iranian issue and cooperation in the P-5+1. Foreign Minister Yang emphasized the opposition of China “to the efforts of any country, including Iran, to develop nuclear weapons”. Keeping that in mind, Mr. Yang outlined the significance of the diplomatic ways to solve this problem in the Middle East. Thus, mutual cooperation and support in this and other related issues was reached during the conference. On the flip side, Foreign Minister Yang remarked that the American presence in the Asia Pacific area will only strengthen the postulates of peace and lawful cooperation between countries in this very area:
As for the United States policy towards the Asia Pacific region, we have always hoped that the United States would size up the situation and make sure that its policy is in conformity with the trends of our current era and the general wish of countries in the region to seek peace, development, and cooperation.
Such statements go hand in hand with a constructivist theory on the international cooperation between two states. Furthermore, human rights protection was also amplified between two sides as the vital step toward better cooperation, even though two political systems differ, as well as their cultures. As two autonomous political units, both China and the United States aim at pinpointing their own goals in terms of the international presence. Waltz (1979) remarks in his study the following idea, namely: “States develop their own strategies, chart their own courses, make their own decisions about how to meet whatever needs they experience and whatever desires they develop”. It is a so-called hint to depict China as well as the United States through the lens of Realism, as one of the major theories in the international politics.
Overtly, both states have their own assumptions and suggestions left behind the scenes of the aforementioned conference. Following the basics of Constructivism and sharing some mutual strategies and ideas, China and the US keep track of the Realism. In general, the main four assumptions lead each party toward what they are doing internationally, namely: 1) survival as the main goal for the state; 2) “states are rational actors”; 3) states “possess some military capacity” and have no idea of what their neighbors and partners intend to do; 4) the world is ruled by the Great Powers that are more decisive in the international arena. So, both China and America follow constructivist ideas accompanied by features of Realism.
Given that, the press conference between Secretary Clinton and Foreign Minister Yang demonstrated the intention of both states to move coherently in reaching the goals of peace and cooperation in the Asia Pacific region, in particular, and in the world on the whole. The Constructivism was felt as the main approach in their dialogue. However, both states have a huge military and economic capacity referred to the political scope of mutual relations. To say more, the growth of the Chinese economy is, definitely, undesirable for the United States. Hence, a constructive dialogue is an optimal way to increase transnational collaboration.