china | June 03, 2013

More Power, More Responsibility: James Fallows On China's Changing Role

It's going to be a big week for Chinese-American relations—and James Fallows is on hand over at NPR to weigh in on the unfolding events. A prominent speaker on China and national correspondent for The Atlantic, Fallows is a trusted voice on the influential country. This week, President Barack Obama will be paying a visit to Chinese President Xi Jinping, and Smithfield Foods—America's biggest pork producer—was recently purchased by the Chinese company, Shuanghui. As Fallows says on NPR radio, these events signal the changing relationship that exists between the two nations.

In regards to the Smithfield Foods acquisition, Fallows says one of the important things to keep in mind is that it's the "biggest acquisition so far of an American company by a Chinese company." The sale of the company is also a nod to the Chinese government's commitment to rectifying the nation's issues with safe food. "In China in the last few years, there's been a genuine public emergency about concerns over the quality and safety of the food supply," Fallows says. "So I think this is a sign...that a big Chinese company recognizes a brand opportunity in China to be associated with a international symbol of safer food." China is changing, he explains, and this major corporate purchase signals the changing role they play on the international level.

"I think there are a couple of issues where the United States would like China to essentially step up and play more of a internationally responsible role commensurate with increasing power," Fallows explains. When Obama meets with the Chinese president, the discussion will explore their role in the growing cyber intelligence war, how they could impact the situation in North Korea, and how they could partner with America to find greener solutions for the power needs of both nations. Reporting from China since 2006, Fallows has a keen insight into the forces that have changed China into a superpower. Author of the book China Airborne, Fallows delves deep into the industrial and economic changes that are transforming the nation. And, his speeches dispel what we have to gain back home.