The Third Annual US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED), a round of bilateral talks that are meant to improve relations and cooperation between the two largest economies in the world, was held on 9-10 May 2011 in Washington, DC. For as much lip service as has been given to China as the nation to restore bipolarity to the world order, it seems more and more that the two countries are far too economically co-dependent to truly be opposite forces outside of their own bilateral relations. What was most interesting about this year’s round of talks was China’s open concern for its significant investment in the US Treasury, and how willing it is now to use its influence.
Last summer, Naoto Kan became Prime Minister as head of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) invested with the hopes of a nation for a new style of leader. After a line of unpopular and ineffective Prime Ministers, Kan made immediate efforts to reset foreign relations. His actions were on track to remedy pieces of Japan’s sad portfolio of economic problems, but a botched tax increase in June 2010 began the erosion of his tenure into business as usual.