Chinese State Media Slam Clinton Ahead of Visit

Posted September 4th, 2012 at 3:20 am (UTC-5)
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Chinese state media are publishing highly critical commentaries against U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as she begins what could be her final trip to China as America's top diplomat Tuesday.

The Global Times, a Communist Party mouthpiece, said ahead of Clinton's visit that she should “reflect upon the deep harm” her four-year term as secretary of state has brought to the U.S.-China relationship. It added that “many Chinese people dislike” Clinton, and accused her of bringing “profound mutual distrust” between the world's two largest economies.

Another editorial in The Global Times was more dismissive of Clinton's role in U.S.-China relations. The paper said Clinton's promotion of the Obama administration's “pivot” toward Asia has brought a “negative and suspicious” atmosphere to bilateral ties. But it predicted that her influence will be minimal, and that relations will not be determined by “one person's trouble-making.”

Clinton is on a 10-day, six-nation tour of Asia. It is her third trip to the region since May. She is helping implement the Obama administration's shift toward the Pacific, which many Beijing leaders have interpreted as being aimed at containing China's rise as a global superpower.

The state-run Xinhua news agency echoed those concerns Tuesday in an editorial, accusing the U.S. of being a “sneaky trouble maker sitting behind some nations in the region and pulling strings.” The U.S. has denied that its policy is aimed at Beijing, and has insisted that it welcomes the rise of a prosperous China.

But that has not convinced China, which has become involved in a series of increasingly bitter territorial disputes with some U.S. allies in the South China Sea and other regional waters. Clinton has vowed to use her visit to push for China to agree on a code of conduct to manage the disputes with the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

But China has refused to deal collectively with ASEAN, instead preferring to use its superior military and economic power to negotiate separately with its rival claimants. The People's Daily, the Communist Party's official paper, on Tuesday renewed its commitment to handling the disputes unilaterally, saying that ASEAN should “stop bringing an outside hand” to the South China Sea issue.

Observers have said progress on the maritime disputes is unlikely during Clinton's visit to China, which will likely be her last trip to the communist country before possible leadership transitions in both Beijing and Washington by early next year.

Clinton has said she will step down as secretary of state, regardless of who wins the November presidential election. By far the most travelled secretary of state in U.S. history, Clinton said earlier this year she is tired and ready to “step off the high wire of American politics.”