A leading article in the FT warns Obama against 'kow-towing' to China:
"Mr Obama’s efforts to occupy the moral high ground are also undermined by his flirtation with protectionism, particularly his decision to slap tariffs on Chinese tyres.
His administration has failed to spell out a convincing trade policy – and that is seen as a stark omission for a business-oriented Asian audience. Such perceived deficiencies have hobbled his ability to cajole China with any real conviction.
When it comes to human rights, too, the US seems to have drawn the conclusion it is not good policy to badmouth its chief creditor.
Hillary Clinton, secretary of state, set the tone early when she said that human rights should not “interfere” with matters of implicitly greater urgency. Mr Obama obligingly omitted all references to Tibet, Xinjiang and even Taiwan from his Tokyo speech. There was also not a single mention of India, a potential regional counterweight to China, yet another indication that Washington is behaving as though it is treading on eggshells. It was therefore all the more refreshing to hear Mr Obama criticise Chinese censorship during his town hall meeting in Shanghai on Monday – though even that could not undo his own self-censorship in refusing to meet the Dalai Lama before this week’s trip.
It is right and proper that the US acknowledge the rising significance of China. Mr Obama’s assurances that China’s rise need not be a threat were spot on. But by the same token, US accommodation can be taken too far. Contrary to common perception, China’s huge holdings of US treasuries are not a sign of great strength. They are evidence of how dependent Chinese growth has been on the US consumer.
Equally, any idea that China, with an economy less than a third the size of the US and a GDP per capita roughly the same as Angola’s, can somehow save the world is ludicrous. Mr Obama is right to show respect to China. He need not – and must not – kowtow."