By Mick Krever, CNN
Is there something in the water?
Suddenly peace, or at least peace talks, are breaking out in the most unlikely places. In Asia, entrenched enemies – China and Taiwan, North and South Korea – have agreed to sit down at the table.
In an effort to decode the surprising developments, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour spoke on Tuesday with Kurt Campbell, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, who is widely credited with being the key architect of America’s “Pivot to Asia.”
China and Taiwan are holding their first-ever official face-to-face talks since Mao Zedong’s communists won their civil war in 1949 – a “quite significant” turn of events, Campbell said.
“Over the course of the last 30 years, people thought that the most tense situation in Asia was between China and Taiwan, but in recent years the relationship has improved substantially – commercially, economically, and now politically.”
By Mick Krever, CNN
Tensions between China and Japan, at their worst in half a century, are making conflict “much more likely now than it’s probably been in years,” the former top U.S. State Department official for East Asia told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.
If a conflict were to break out, Kurt Campbell said, it would likely be a “small skirmish, probably easily contained.”
But the larger context, of "what is really the two great countries of Asia, China and Japan" is hard to ignore.
"Tensions between the two countries are greater now than they've been probably in a half century."
The two countries have long been loggerheads over uninhabited islands in the East China Sea – the Chinese call them Diaoyu and the Japanese call them Senkaku.
The heat was turned up, however, when China declared an “Air Defense Identification Zone” over the chain of islands.
The U.S. military responded by sending two unarmed B-52 bombers through the heart of the contested airspace.
America must make clear to China, Campbell said, that the drawing of a military air zone “is deeply provocative.”
By Mick Krever and Claire Calzonetti, CNN
Bo Xilai, a Chinese politican beloved in his hometown, was once considered a top contender for his country’s leadership; now, after a dramatic and sudden fall, he is on trial for corruption and abuse of power.
He stands accused of not only taking millions of dollars in bribes, but also of covering up the murder of a British businessman by his own wife.
But to one veteran China watcher, Cheng Li of the Brookings Institution, the trial says more about China’s leadership than it does about Bo.
“The leadership are focused on corruption,” Li told CNN’s Hala Gorani on Thursday, as Bo’s trial began in the city of Jinan. “That itself makes sense from the leadership perspective because they don’t want to further review all these terrible things happening in China among Chinese elite, especially some of the princelings.”
By Mick Krever, CNN
Are the U.S. and China headed for a “new great power relationship?”
That is what Xi Jinping, China’s new president has called for. He and U.S. President Barack Obama kicked off that vision last month, in an unusually informal meeting at the Sunnylands resort in California.
And in a rare and exclusive interview with Christiane Amanpour, Chinese Ambassador to the U.S. Cui Tiankai said that it’s “obvious” that the countries need each other. FULL POST
By Samuel Burke, CNN
China has long been North Korea’s strongest ally, but the alliance might be based on nothing more than nostalgia.
That’s according to Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell.
In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday, Campbell said that North Korea will be at the top of the agenda for U.S. President Barack Obama’s upcoming meeting with China's new President Xi Jinping, along with the issue of cyber security.
Campbell thinks Obama might have success on both fronts, not because of “great goodwill” between the U.S. and China, but mainly because he sees China “poorly positioned” on both fronts.
“People sometimes believe that there's a warm, flourishing relationship between North Korea and China,” Campbell said. “I don't think that's the case. In fact, I think the relationship is based more on a nostalgia for the Korean War and the long association of political parties.” FULL POST
CNN's Christiane Amanpour gives a preview of the upcoming summit between President Obama and President Xi. Long-time adviser to China's leaders, Robert Lawrence Kuhn, tells Amanpour that understanding China's domestic situation and policies is key to predicting what foreign policy moves the country will make.
The former head of U.S. Pacific Command, Admiral William Fallon, describes the "complex" U.S.-Chinese military relationship to CNN's Christiane Amanpour.
By Mick Krever, CNN
If diplomacy is a tightrope walk, Gary Locke, as the U.S. ambassador to China, walks one of the thinnest.
To listen to the 2012 U.S. presidential candidates, China is an economic cheater, global bully, and human rights violator that the U.S. needs to wrestle under control.
In a debate last month with his republican challenger, President Barack Obama said that China is “an adversary, but also a potential partner.”
That may be the reality of a political campaign, but the reality now for the governments of the United States and China is that despite very real differences, the two countries – entwined economically and in foreign policy – need each other more than perhaps ever.
“We do have disagreements,” Locke told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday. “And we’re publicly and privately constantly urging the Chinese to reexamine some of their policies.” FULL POST
A discussion about what President Hu Jintao's speech signals to the world about changes in China's future.
Watch the complete edition on Ai Weiwei on our podcast.
Watch the complete edition with Ai Weiwei on our podcast.
By Tom Evans; Sr. Writer, AMANPOUR.
(CNN) - Leading Chinese activist and artist Ai Weiwei declared that China's government has no humanity - and that the Communist Party is trying to silence anyone who disagrees with it.
"They crack down on everybody who has different opinions - not even different opinions, just different attitudes," Ai told CNN's Christiane Amanpour in an exclusive interview on Tuesday.
"Simply to have different opinions can cost (dissidents) their life; they can be put in jail, can be silenced, and can be disappeared," he said.
Ai is no stranger to controversy or danger. He helped design the iconic Bird's Nest stadium for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but then called for a boycott of the games because in his opinion China was using them as propaganda.
He also faced a barrage of official criticism in 2008 when he assembled activists to collect the names of thousands of unidentified students who were killed in the massive Sichuan earthquake. He also slammed local governments for allowing the construction of shoddy schools that collapsed.
Ai has paid a heavy price for his dissent. He says he was beaten in a hotel room by Chinese police and later needed emergency brain surgery for injuries he suffered in the assault.