In a wide-ranging speech, peppered with Mandarin phrases, Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd touched on history and culture as much as contemporary politics to propose a new "rules-based" way for Asia to accommodate Sino-U.S. rivalries. He calls it "Pax Pacifica."
As China rises to power in a tumultuous political and economic environment, the U.S. finds itself struggling to build a relationship with its greatest rival. Perhaps the biggest challenge in this international bridge-building is the conflict between traditional Western and Eastern ways of thinking.
You know learning Mandarin is fashionable when it has become the selling point of a presidential campaign. Indeed, perhaps the most telling sign of China's prominence is the role that Jon Huntsman's Mandarin skills have played in his public persona. Huntsman's television appearances frequently include a snippet showing off his Chinese skills.
Ice sculptures are displayed at the annual Ice and Snow festival in Harbin, northeast China's Heilongjiang province. Fairy tale palaces, towering pagodas, and even an Egyptian Sphynx -- all carved from ice -- are among the sights this year. (AFP /Getty Images)
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