Monday, April 30, 2012

Escaped dissident tests diplomacy

(CNN) -- Washington and Beijing may be facing the most tense and delicate moment in their bilateral relationship since the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown. The reported escape from house arrest of dissident lawyer Chen Guangcheng and his apparent flight to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, while not yet officially confirmed, would greatly complicate the Obama administration's efforts to keep relations on an even keel in a year already fraught with bilateral irritants.

Both leaderships want stability in the relationship, given the confluence of a U.S. presidential election and the once-in-a-decade leadership transition in Beijing scheduled for this fall. But this desire has been put to the test. There have been tiffs over China's early support for the Assad regime in Syria and North Korea's failed satellite launch and presumed follow-on nuclear test. And there was the bungled attempt by the erstwhile security chief of a senior Chinese Politburo member to seek refuge in a U.S. diplomatic facility on the eve of a visit to Washington by China's putative next leader. And now this. Read More