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March 20, 2015 / bswitaba

Sino-U.S relations: Can the two giants help the UN tackle global issues more effectively?

Abstract
The last two decades have witnessed a record number of U.S presidents make state visits to Beijing, perhaps in what diplomats perceive as U.S efforts to pay homage to China.
These visiting presidents have ranged from George H. Bush, Bill Clinton (1998), George W. Bush (2002, 2008), and lately Barack Obama (2014).

The most notable of these visits was president Clinton’s 10 day state visit to China in 1998. The move by Clinton was a precursor to the Sino-US bilateral relations that would eventually end the seemingly cold relations that stretched back to 1989, in the aftermath of the political crackdown in Tiananmen Square, an act that had prompted the U.S to impose sanctions on China and eventually suspend high-level exchanges.

A successive visit by other US presidents ever since is a great sign that Sino-U.S relations have been improving and normalizing gradually through constructive engagement between the two countries.
With a population of about 1.3 billion and significant naval and military power, China should be seen by the U.S as a potential strategic cooperation partner and ally that would help fight global terrorism.

The world Order
China has emerged from being a marginal player on the global stage to a revered powerhouse that has attracted trillions of foreign direct investment in recent years.
Currently, China’s economy ranks first globally from almost every perspective be it in infrastructure, global exports, economic growth and or industrial production.
The World Bank projects that by 2025, China will likely have the world’s largest gross national product! If this projection is anything to go by, the Asian Tiger is sure to create a new world order.

On the other hand, the U.S has dominated world affairs as a sole super power since the collapse of the USSR, boasting of numerous military bases and major allies around the globe.
In this light, the UN can take advantage by engaging these two giants collaboratively to tackle a number of the following global pressing issues:

Global Terrorism and Piracy
Today, terrorism is a global threat mandating a unified approach to fully tackle the vice. The UN Security could tap into Sino-U.S partnership by including the two principle allies in the Counter-Terrorism Committee, to help oversee the implementation of the counter-terrorism policy and help combat the threat.
Additionally, pirate attacks on commercial vessels have threatened the free and proper conduct of international shipping and trade off the coast of Somalia and the Gulf of Guinea. This has resulted to damage to global economy that could amount to billions of dollars according to “Oceans Beyond Piracy” 2012 report.

The reaction of the UN Security Council to take a series of resolutions to deal with the piracy menace prompted nations to rise up to tackle pirates in the deep seas of Africa.
The U.S and China were at the forefront to send in naval forces. This coordination to deal with piracy operations in the high seas is just a perfect example of how the UN can engage with the two world leaders in the quest to lower piracy activities.

Maintaining Global Peace and Security
Besides terrorism and piracy, the other greatest threat to international peace and security is the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, biological weapons and their technology.
From Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Ukraine, and the middle East, the two partners could do more together to deal with these threats.
There’s a need for the UN Security Council involve the U.S and China in the UN globalization of treaties to destroy weapons of mass destruction.
Given the real danger of the proliferation of nuclear weapons, these two countries could push for the creation of “denuclearized zones” in politically sensitive areas of the world to help avert crises.
More so, there U.S and China have the potential to advocate for negotiation processes on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).This legally binding global treaty could oversee the legal trade in the major categories of conventional weapons. This could thus be essential in the regulation of legal trade for the purpose of limiting illegal trafficking in conventional weapons.

Combating poverty hunger and disease
Year in year out, Africa has been grappled with these recurring problems. The increased child mortality and maternal health related issues are a cause of concern. Sino-U.S partnership has the potential to invest in empowerment programmes for social progress and help end the cycle of poverty in Africa. They could work in cohort to set up technology that could steer agri-business to the forefront thus help in contributing to food security, and wealth creation.
With AIDS, Malaria and Ebola being the top killer diseases, setting up joint research and centre for disease control and prevention could immensely keep these human killer diseases in check. Besides, training of community health works for skills transfer to the locals and equipping them with adequate equipment would play a major role in ensuring a health conscious society capable of dealing with any outbreak that could threaten the human population.

Ebola Centre

Global warming and climate change
Since the signing of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, developed countries (known as “Annex I Parties”) have done way too little to curb their emissions of the six main greenhouse gases namely: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydro fluorocarbons, per fluorocarbons, and sulphur hexafluoride. UN Habitat could capitalize on US and China’s dominance in industrialization to help put workable measures that could save the planet in place. This could include pressing for resolutions curbing on dependence on fossil fuels and instead adopt alternative clean, renewable energy.

The fact that Kyoto Protocol is a flexible treaty, letting individual governments decide what specific policies and reforms to implement to meet their commitments, they (the UN) could press the U.S and China to urge countries to offset some of their emissions by increasing the carbon dioxide absorbed, or sequestered, by trees and other vegetation. However, eligible sequestration activities and the amount of offsetting allowed should be tightly controlled.

Further, the UN could work alongside the U.S and China to implement stringent policies that help other nations prepare for disasters such as hurricanes, flooding, and drought.
Last but not least, sanctioning leaderships that ignore the climate change dilemma would go a long way in ensuring a just and sustainable ecosystem.

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