The Top 10 Questions About China Ahead of Xi's U.S. Visit

Op-Ed by ASPI President Kevin Rudd

In an op-ed published by the World Post on September 21, 2015, ASPI President Kevin Rudd explores questions that he believes are foremost in policy makers’ minds.

When President Xi Jinping arrives for his first state visit to the United States this week, a number of new domestic and foreign policy questions are likely to be on the minds of administrations in both capitals. How these are interpreted, and most importantly, managed, during the visit will shape the future of this core strategic relationship. And the content of this relationship will in turn shape much of the content of the future global rules-based order.

Here, at least in my judgment, are the top 10 questions on policy makers’ minds, both in Beijing and Washington, on the eve of Xi's visit.

1. Just how much trouble is the Chinese economy really in?

Some, but nothing fundamental. The core problem for Chinese policy makers is embarking on an unavoidable, necessary and major reform of China's growth model at a time of unexpectedly weak global growth. The traded sector of the economy has not provided a sufficient “growth buffer” during this complex process of re-engineering the policy model.

China is moving from a low-wage, labor intensive manufacturing for export strategy supported by a massive national infrastructure build to a new model based on rising domestic consumption, an expanding services sector and greater market share for the private sector. In essence, gradual increases in domestic consumption have thus far not offset larger falls in net exports.

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