November 7, 2013
Achieving a “new type of great power relations” with the United States is a cornerstone of China’s emerging foreign policy. But it remains a brittle one. Although first expressed by former President Hu Jintao, the term has achieved elevated status since President Xi Jinping’s summit meeting with President Barack Obama at Sunnylands, California, some four months ago. To some Americans, the concept seems as hazy as the Beijing air, and that’s even after lengthy discussions with myriad Chinese interlocutors. Indeed, the more one attempts to arrive at a rigorous (or at least less nebulous) definition of the phrase, the more one is bound to be frustrated.