JAMES F. HOGE, JR.: "The Rise of China and the Challenge to America", Friday, Oct. 26, 2012, 7:30PM, Housatonic Valley Regional High School

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Our attention is focused on the election November 6th, whether there will be a change in government and, if so, what changes that would mean. Two days later the Chinese Communist Party Congress will meet for its once in a decade change of leadership. Factional infighting is marking this political transition. What changes are made in Beijing are also very important for us.

James F. Hoge, Chairman of Human Rights Watch and former editor of Foreign Affairs magazine says the U.S.-China relationship is vital to the prosperity and security of both countries, the Asian region and the globe

The Chinese economy is the second biggest in the world and could surpass the United States in the next 10 to 15 years. China passed the U.S. as the world’s biggest car market three years ago and in three more years Chinese Consumers may buy more cars than those in the U.S., Germany and Japan combined. China holds more than 20 per cent of all foreign-owned U.S. Treasury securities.

“Both countries cooperate on a number of economic issues and some security ones. But the relationship is increasingly marked by tension, disagreement and competiveness,” Hoge says. “There is rising concern over China’s slowing economy, its growing nationalism and its neighbors’ alarm over Chinese claims to adjacent seas,” he says.

China recently put its first aircraft carrier into service. Although officials say it will be used for training purposes delivery of the ship comes at a time China and Japan are in a dispute over some islands in the East China Sea. There are also overlapping territorial claims between China and several Southeast Asian nations.

“The United States is publicly expanding its ties to other Asian countries and shifting military resources to the region,” Hoge reports. “Fresh tensions are being generated by the political transitions underway in both countries this fall,” he says. China is the target of trade threats. The United States has launched a wide-ranging trade complaint against China’s support for the export of car parts. China then filed a complaint at the World Trade Organization challenging the new U.S. law on tariffs designed to combat such export subsidies.

Peacefully accommodating fresh aspirants to international leadership has often proved elusive. Hoge says, “The challenge is to strengthen the mutual benefits that can flow from this key relationship and avoid the triggers that might precipitate hostile confrontations.”

Prior to joining Foreign Affairs” in 1992 James F. Hoge spent three decades in newspaper journalism as a Washington correspondent, then as editor and publisher of the Chicago Sun Times and finally as publisher and president of The New York Daily News. He has been a Fellow at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, the Freedom Forum Media Center at Columbia University and on the American Political Science Association’s Congressional program. He is chairman of the International Center for Journalists and a director of the Center for Global Affairs at New York University.