The Nelson Report from a few days ago discusses the emerging “co-management” view of US-China relations….which excludes Japan and Taiwan.


CHINA…there’s always several things going on in DC that relate to US-China relations management of some kind, and the trick is to be in several places at once, so you can keep up.

In other words, thank god for e-mail.

Exhibit A, a Loyal Reader pal took notes at yesterday’s by all accounts very excellent Heritage Foundation discussion on what’s come to be called “co-management” of the US-China relationship.

Since we weren’t there, we hesitate to ascribe a particular point to discussants Bonnie Glaser, of CSIS, Randy Schriver, of Armitage Associates, and Heritage’s John Tkacik and Harvey Feldman, but our faithful correspondent pronounced himself impressed with all four.

“Nobody said anything crazy”, he noted (you can’t always count on this in Washington!), adding “the most important point was the consensus that while it’s understandable that the Administration thinks in terms of ‘co-management’ of issues like N. Korea nukes, Iran and, especially, on Taiwan, in fact the term over-states reality and is potentially dangerous because it can be so misleading”.

“Co-management overstates the degree of shared interests on North Korea, for example, because calling the 6 Party Talks a ’success’ because of China’s involvement mistakes a convergence of interests for the reality, which is actually shared aversions, more than shared interests.”

Specifically, it’s been clear from the start that China, at least, is prepared to live with a nuclear N. Korea, since it, like S. Korea and even Japan, feels it has more, realistically, to lose from instability and collapse.

“Co-management” is also potentially harmful as an implementing principle because it “creates a duopoly and suggests an exclusion of other key players”, specifically Japan (as the Nelson Report has been stressing recently) and especially on Cross Strait issues, with Taiwan.

Discussants suggested that “what we are trying to do is to elevate China’s cooperation, but this co-management concept puts China in a position to create linkages and trade-offs before the reality of such cooperation actually exists…see especially the Dalai Lama vs. China’s ‘cooperation’ on Iran and Burma.”

So Glaser, Schriver, Tkacik and Feldman didn’t like anything about co-management? Well, it’s possibly OK as an organizing tool, perhaps, as an aid to looking ahead so the US can pick and chose areas of cooperation…”we are too closely integrated to do otherwise, such as on global warming and energy efficiency and conservation.”

Conclusion: “We should try to find areas of cooperation but we should not, on faith, put this concept or relationship at the center of US foreign policy at this time”.


Making decisions without consulting the locals on them simply guarantees inability to enforce them. Somehow the Taiwanese need to be brought into this relationship….