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The strait Times: Obama's re-election bodes well for Sino-US ties

Source:The strait Times

Reprint link:http://www.straitstimes.com/the-big-story/us-election-2012/viewpoints/story/obamas-re-election-bodes-well-sino-us-ties-20121107

In this June 18, 2012, file photo, Chinese President Hu Jintao (right) and US President Barack Obama (left) take their places with other leaders for the Family Photo during the G20 Summit in Los Cabos, Mexico. Mr Hu sent messages of congratulation to Mr Obama on his re-election. -- PHOTO: AP


The strait Times: Obama's re-election bodes well for Sino-US ties

BEIJING - The re-election of United States President Barack Obama bodes well for China and for bilateral ties, Chinese analysts said on Wednesday as netizens fired off tens of millions of comments on the news, making it the most closely-watched item online.

"Obama's re-election is beneficial for Sino-US relations," said said Fudan University's Centre for American Studies professor Xin Qiang.

In his past four years in office, the US leader has already worked to deepen ties with China, he said.

And in his second term, Mr Obama is likely to make further policy moves that could serve China's interests.

"Without the pressure of seeking a re-election in the coming four years, Obama may advance bilateral trade ties by lifting restrictions on US high-tech exports to China," said Prof Xin.

The curbs have been a hot-button issue in previous bilateral talks, with the Chinese side insisting that lifting them would reduce bilateral trade imbalances - a controversial issue in Washington.

Mr Obama is also preferred over Republican candidate Mitt Romney because of the familiarity factor, noted analysts.

"Both sides will take a shorter time to adapt to each other and improve communication," said East China Normal University professor Yang Cheng.

Prof Xin added that Mr Obama, unlike Mr Romney who had pledged to label China a currency manipulator if he were elected, is unlikely to make major changes.

"Obama has a much more rational and realistic approach to China-US relations and will not formulate policies impulsively."

Still, it is still too early to conclude which direction the US leader's second term will move, cautioned Prof Yang. "Sino-US relations are extremely complex and are characterised by a dual dynamic of cooperation and competition, stability and tension".

How to manage this relationship will be "a critical task which affects the restructuring of the global system as well as regional stability," he said.

President Hu Jintao sent messages of congratulation to Mr Obama on his re-election, China's foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said on Wednesday. China will "make continuous efforts for fresh and greater progress in the building of the China-US cooperative partnership," he said.

China's netizens on Wednesday posted almost 80 million microblog comments and "re-tweets" of Mandarin media reports that Mr Obama's win within five hours of the news breaking.

The topic was the top-trending item on microblog platforms, above the 18th Party Congress which was at No.2 on the Tencent platform.

While some netizens said the US elections, while exciting, did not have any impact on their daily lives, others drew comparisons between the top leadership transition in the two countries.

"Americans have no foresight, Obama's re-election has sparked such a frenzy,"commented one netizen nicknamed Ben. "But who the next president of 'Heavenly Kingdom' - referring to the top Communist Party leadership - will be is already known across our whole country."