BOZEMAN - Members of the community recently gathered at the Museum of the Rockies to listen to a discussion about the US-China Relationship amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The Montana World Affairs Council organized the event “US-China Relations in Light of Ukraine”, the first in-person they’ve held since COVID, with the hopes of answering three questions: What? So what? Now what?
On the panel were Former U.S. Senator from Montana and U.S. Ambassador to China Max Baucus, and Dexter Roberts, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council's Asia Security Initiative, a fellow at the Mansfield Center at the University of Montana, and author of The Myth of Chinese Capitalism.
“China really has been unwilling to join the international condemnation of the invasion,” Roberts said, “When I listen to messages coming out of Beijing, they seem to be pretty consistent — and it’s that Russia as more of a victim here.”
Roberts elaborates that, China may perceive Russia as being ‘pushed against a wall’ with Western NATO influence.
“They see a parallel between the U.S. and its relationship to the South Pacific, specifically Taiwan,” Roberts said.
Now formal action has been taken by China, and it is unknown if they had prior knowledge of the invasion.
“But China cares more about China than it does about Putin,” Baucus said, “And that’s why it’s so complex.”
Baucus delves into the relationship between the US and China, and how Americans and politicians describe China as negatively affecting relations.
“The name-calling by the United States — by the way — doesn’t help either. ‘Your enemy’ comes up, and the more we shame China publicly, the more they are going to be our enemy, and the more difficult it’s going to be,” Baucus said.
Baucus describes the ties between US and China as ‘the most important relationship later on down the road’. Noting that the quality of the relationship determines the quality of life for both the Chinese and Americans.
Both Baucus and Roberts agree that the US and China will always have ties with one another.