Summer of 2008, US President George W. Bush, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, and heads of 84 states met in Beijing. They came to attend the first Summer Olympics held in China. A spectacular sight came during the state dinner when the heads of state were standing in line to greet Premier Hu Jintao.
The dinner planners planned Premier Hu’s entrance to be 5 minutes later than that of other heads of states. The sight of leaders of 84 nations, standing in ovation to greet the Premier, had been engineered. President Bush and Prime Minister Putin waited on line for 15 minutes just to shake hands with the Premier. The entire sight was shown to the Chinese public without edit. The message, “China is the center of the world”, was delivered to the people.
In January 1980, Deng Xiao-Ping gathered 80 Party Central Committee members into his office. With his trademark quiet voice, he urged the members to “keep a low profile.”
“Keeping a low profile” means that instead of showing off on talents or fame, one must strengthen his powers in darkness. Until now, China has steadfastily waited and cooperated with larger nations until it had the powers to make an impact on the international community. However in 2010, China has changed its foreign affairs strategies to “stand up as a great nation through peace” and participate to fully accomplish their mission.
As Deng was on his deathbed, he stated that it will take China 60 years to catch upto the US. However, Chinese Communist Party decreased that time to one-thirds. As 2011 starts off, China no longer attempts to strengthen itself in darkness. Using mass media, China is making full efforts to tell the world about China’s intentions, culture, and values.
Premier Hu Jintao went back to China after making an official visit to the US. He walked through Washington, DC and Chicago as the eyes of the world were upon him. Hu visited the Confucius Institute in Walter Payton College Preparatory High School. As he stood in the midst of Chinese Americans who stood through years upon years of hardship, he said that the Institute felt like “liberation.”
The Confucius Institute is the Chinese center created by Chinese Americans themselves. Hu went all the way to Chicago on his first official visit to Chinese Americans. He declared that Chinese Americans are the best above all. This is a stark contrast to the Korean Presidents when they visited the US. When the Korean Presidents visit the US, a process of meeting selected Koreans in a luxurious hotel in Manhattan repeats over and over again. Either way, China is slowly but surely making an imprint on the international community. Although what Obama and Hu talked about will be released in due time… It is not a delightful situation for Korea that is caught up in the escalated situation between the North and the South.
Koreans’ insistence on placing Korea-US alliance ahead of China-US relations is an act of ignorance on US and China’s cooperative relationship. It becomes very clear when one steps into US’s shoes. As US-China relations stabilize, the strategic value of Korea decreases. Of course, the US wouldn’t abandon such an easy asset to maintain. However, we ourselves cannot even handle the Korean peninsula situation and the fact that we must rely on powerful nations is not right and doesn’t sit well with us. However, as the Korean government remains silent, the safety pin that keeps the escalation from blowing over is not North or South Korea, but is China and the US. We cannot deny this fact.
During Hu’s visit, President Obama thanked China for being cooperative in helping to calm the escalation between North and South Korea. It’s a sad situation where we must watch as we don’t even know what China actually did as far as the Yeonpyeong-do situation goes. Although we are in this situation, we (as in South Korea) can’t keep bragging about how Korea hosted the G20 Conferences, how Korean companies are the best, and how Korea is just a step away from becoming a world power. The potential to keep Korea included in the security of the Korean peninsula is in us. This is from our political powers in Washington, DC. The Democratic minority-Republican majority situation will work as leverage for us in Washington. The stabilization of North Korea-US relations on which the peace of the Korean penisula stands upon is the best way to go for the US, China, and the victim, South Korea.