The U.S.-China relationship may have reached its strongest footing of the Obama presidency, judging from high-level talks that came to a close in Washington yesterday. But some observers noted a palpable gap in focus between the two powers, with the U.S. addressing a broad agenda -- ranging from concerns over the value of the yuan to human rights -- and China more narrowly concentrated on issues pertaining to its sovereignty.
The core of China's agenda going into the Strategic and Economic Dialogue was a strategy of maintaining control "over their territory and their waters, and frankly their cyberspace," says Patrick Cronin, senior director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for New American Security in Washington.
"They think we're behind their Jasmine revolution -- they're paranoid about their sovereignty," said Cronin, who spoke with Trend Lines on Tuesday. Of equal, if not greater importance, he added, is the issue of U.S. arms sales to Taiwan.