May 21st, 2010
06:03 PM ET
12 years ago

Hundreds of officials accompany Clinton to China

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is leading a delegation of more than 200 officials to China."]Washington (CNN) - China is a country of big numbers. More than 1 billion people live there. The Great Wall, at its longest, was more than 6,000 miles long. So maybe it is no surprise that it takes a big delegation to meet the Chinese.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is leading a delegation of more than 200 officials from the Obama administration to China for next week's Strategic and Economic Dialogue.

Maybe it pales in comparison to China's population, but in the diplomatic world, that's big. Assistant Secretary for East Asia Kurt Campbell called it one of the largest groups of Cabinet and sub-Cabinet officials from the United States ever to visit China. The group includes "virtually all elements of the U.S. government," Campbell said.

Practically every agency of the U.S. government is represented, including administration heavyweights like as Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Christina Romer, chairwoman of the president's Council of Economic Advisers. Key players from the Pentagon and U.S. Pacific Command will also be there.

The meeting is a follow-up to the first Strategic and Economic Dialogue established by President Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao in April 2009 in Washington, where the Chinese delegation was just as large. But this year, the U.S. faces a stronger China, whose political and economic stature has grown in the wake of the global economic crisis.

There is no shortage of issues for Clinton to talk about on the "strategic" front with her Chinese hosts, whose delegation is led by Vice Premier Wang Qishan and State Counselor Dai Bingguo.

The U.S. hopes that China will support a U.N. Security Council resolution imposing tough sanctions against Iran and work harder to reign in North Korea after a South Korean investigation found that a North Korean torpedo sank one of its warships. The U.S. is also concerned about China's censorship of the internet. The situation in Afghanistan will also be high on the agenda, as China is a major donor there.

The Chinese have plenty of their own complaints, including Obama's recent meeting with the Dalai Lama and U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, which infuriated Beijing to the point of threatening sanctions against U.S. companies taking part in the arms package.

The "economic" part of the dialogue, however, is even thornier. The U.S. wants China to provide more access to its markets for American exports and allow its currency, the yuan, to appreciate. With the economic crisis in Greece spreading to other countries in Europe and sinking the euro, China is likely to argue that now is not the time.

Because the U.S. and China are at odds at so many of these issues, there is the potential for the meeting to become contentious. However, with the tensions on the Korean peninsula threatening stability in Asia and with Europe's recent financial turmoil likely to spread, these two important political and economic powers can ill afford to let their differences stop them from cooperating on the world's most vexing issues.

Filed under: China • Hillary Clinton
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Sharma

    Who's paying for this humongous crowd of expensive fliers? Tax payers of course! That explains why I can't afford to take my family to see grandparents this summer!

    May 21, 2010 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |

    KEEP IT UP HILLARY! You go girl until China, Mexico and the u-bangy-u's own whats left of a once proud country.

    May 21, 2010 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  3. Spokaloo

    It'll be great to have a healthy percentage of our destructive, devisive, liberal Democratic leadership out of the country for a while...I sense a calm settling over the nation all ready...a bit of sunshine peaking through...a bit of that hope thing Iv'e heard so much about is beginning to wash over, are those warm fuzzies I'm feeling?...haven't felt those since Hillary lost Ohio...

    May 21, 2010 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  4. Gerry NH

    How much does it cost to take 200 official people to China to accomplish nothing?

    May 21, 2010 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  5. November

    Carbon footprint? Spending restraint? Are these foreign concepts to the Hope and Change crowd?

    May 21, 2010 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  6. Otto

    They have a tough job ahead. Wish them luck!

    May 21, 2010 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  7. ib

    Well how much is this vacation for everyone costing the taxpaper. No reason at all to take this many people if someone under Bush had done this it would be unreal the outcry over it but not under messiah Obama.

    May 21, 2010 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  8. Victim of GOP Taliban

    Yes contentious to whom though? Big business loves the cheap commie-subsidized China labor at the expense of American jobs. Now China OWNS America and makes almost everything we use. Good luck trying to use leverage against that – when America is dependent on China for borrowing $ and their slave labor.

    May 21, 2010 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  9. Smith in Oregon

    This article seems to skirt the critical focus of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's Oriental trip as she sits down with the Chinese representatives to determine their level of support within North Korea.

    South Korea and America has recently concluded that North Korea fired a torpedo at a South Korean warship which sank and directly caused the deaths of several South Korean sailors.

    North Korea has since placed 700,000 North Korean soldiers some 60 miles from South Korea's border on high alert and threatened to tear up the pre-existing Korean War Truce agreement.

    China is one of the few friends North Korea has and China certainly has a great deal of influence over North Korea's potential rabid response to this latest finger pointing crisis.

    America has nearly 30,000 US Army Soldiers directly across the border and in harms way if North Korea opens up with their artillery.

    While ongoing events on Okinawa which has the residents demanding that the US Marine Corp. entirely leave their Island might seem to be at the top of the agenda for Hillary Clinton to straighten out, I am certain the poisonous environment in North Korea is in fact at the top of the list in Secretary of State's Hillary Clinton's mission objectives to deal with in her mass meeting in China.

    May 21, 2010 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  10. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    That's right protect Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, she's our national treasure.

    May 21, 2010 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  11. Obama the liar

    200 people to China so the Obama regime can apologize for all of America. Hasn't he done enough America bashing and bowing himself??? Just keep screwing the taxpayer and printing mo' obama money to celebrate the anointed one...

    May 21, 2010 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  12. jeff jackson, alabama

    A delegation of Just two hundred ???
    Well at least Obama is
    showing the rest of us
    by example how to cut

    May 21, 2010 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  13. mitchell, oklahoma

    They could send Sarah Palin and 1 or 2 secretaries
    and get more done for alot less expense.
    And have a pretty representative to represent a
    beautiful country in us.

    May 21, 2010 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  14. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, NC

    Two hundred people! Ridiculous! How much is that going to cost?

    May 21, 2010 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  15. doug

    One question, Who is paying for the unlimited cost of paying for this?
    Two hundred political employees are getting another free trip on me the taxpayer. They should ALL Stay Home and help the President put people back to work in this country.

    May 21, 2010 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  16. GuyinVA

    As conservatism goes, I'm somewhere to the right of the great Ronald Reagan. However, I think Secretary Clinton has done a fine job at State. She's shown more stones than many of her predecessors.

    May 21, 2010 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |