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Beijing tipped to stay cautious on Obama doctrine
south china morning post|
Beijing will remain cautious to US President Barack Obama's call for greater engagement in international security, part of his newly unveiled national security doctrine, mainland experts said yesterday.
Striking a contrast to the Bush-era emphasis on going it alone, Obama's strategy called for expanding partnerships beyond traditional United States allies to encompass rising powers like China and India in order to share the international burden.
The report underscored Washington's enigmatic relationship with Beijing, praising it for a more active role in world affairs while insisting it must act responsibly.
"We will continue to pursue a positive, constructive, and comprehensive relationship with China, we welcome a China that takes on a responsible leadership role in working with the US and the international community to advance priorities like economic recover, confronting climate change, and non-proliferation," the report wrote.
However, Obama reiterated unease over China's rapid military build-up. "We will monitor China's military modernisation programme and prepare accordingly to ensure that US interests, and allies, regionally and globally, are not negatively affected," the report said.
With Beijing's economic and political clout on the rise, Washington and other Western powers have been pushing Beijing to play a bigger role in world affairs, a move that is at odds with China's non-interference approach in diplomacy.
A case in point is the dilemma facing China over its response to the sinking of South Korean warship in March. Washington, Seoul and other powers have been pushing China to condemn North Korea, which the South said had torpedoed the ship, causing the death of 46 soldiers.
China has remained neutral, only stressing that parties involved should exercise restraint and remain calm.
China is under similar pressure to play a bigger role on issues ranging from Iran's nuclear project to climate change.
In the report, Obama also sent out the same message to other current and emerging powers that they must shoulder their share of the global burden.
Professor Jin Canrong , associate dean of Renmin University's School of International Studies, said that while China would respond positively to Obama's national security doctrine, Beijing would remain cautious about its role in world affairs.
"Obama's views on world affairs are closer to China's as compared to that of Bush," Jin said, referring to the US president's shift of emphasis from unilateralism and pre-emptive strikes to economic growth and international co-operation in his report.
Obama acknowledged in the report that boosting economic growth and getting the US fiscal house in order must be core national security priorities.
"But it's a different story when it goes down to the countries' interests. China would not be bearing the responsibilities that the US set out for it. The responsibilities have to be something that has direct interest to China," Jin said.
Professor Zhu Feng of Peking University's School of International Studies said Obama's national security strategy would not mark any shift in US policies towards China.
"China now accepts the concept of stakeholder. But it doesn't want to accept the definition of `stakeholder' set by the US," Zhu said.
Andrei Chang, editor-in-chief of the Canada-based Kanwa Defence Review, said the report could bring long-term impacts to global security development.
"The strategy will be a significant signal to North Korea and Iran because it doesn't advocate former US president George Bush's pre-emptive strike policy."