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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

A reporter friend asked me what I thought of the up-coming G-8 summit. I frankly think Chinese leaders, like our own leaders, think much more about domestic politics when they go to these international meetings:

On the G-8, I think this will be important for Hu in terms of domestic politics. If Jiang has any claim to residual power, it is his deep experience in foreign affairs (at least according to his supporters and himself). Hu needs to establish himself as just as capable in dealing with outsiders as Jiang could to finally consolidate his power domestically. This will be a long process that will take at least until the 17th Party Congress. However, the G8 summit will be an important step for establishing Hu's foreign policy credibility. He will need to act with poise, firm without appearing xenophobic or paranoid. I don't think he will specifically raise the currency issue unless someone raises it first. He will reaffirm China's intention of seeking mutual prosperity through heightened economic and cultural ties with other countries. I think this will be an opportunity for Hu to establish personal ties with top leaders around the world as well. Other leaders will also need to learn about Hu, especially given that he will be around for (at least) another 8 years.

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