Last week the US announced a major arms sales package to Taiwan, worth $6 billion of defensive weapons. The response of the Chinese government on this very sensitive issue was unusually tough. Taiwan is considered a province of the Peoples Republic of China since 1949 and mutual respect for territorial integrity is one of the five Chinese principles of peaceful coexistence.

A broad series of retaliatory measures including punitive sanctions to private companies are mentioned by the Ministries of National Defence and Foreign Affairs.

The bilateral relations with China, an economically and strategically vital part of the world, are one of the most important foreign policy challenges of the Obama government.

Added to the Taiwan issue is a list of other questions:

  • The censorship of Internet and hacking attacks of American websites in connection with human rights;
  • Google book scans and Chinese intellectual property law;
  • And of course the always smiling, exiled spiritual leader of the Tibetans, the Dalai Lama, who wants “genuine autonomy” for Tibet, not independence. President Obama, who will meet him soon, considers Tibet to be a part of China and is only concerned about the human rights of the Tibetans. Human rights are in China considered to be granted and protected by the State and require recognition by positive law as a result of economic and cultural development. They are not universal rights based on human dignity as such;
  • And finally the undervalued Chinese currency rates, according to the US and denied by the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman.

Cooperation between China and the United States is indispensible for the tackling of almost all international problems, from nuclear disarmement to climate change and the financial crisis. The age–old tool of statecraft must also in this chapter of Sino-US relations supply a positive continuation.

The Peace Palace Library at least provides thousands of pages in paper and electronic form, which analyse and give commentary on the matters involved. See the highlighted links to our catalogue.

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