More directly, the United States and China are in sharp disagreement on the matter of Taiwan. This past January, Chinese and American officials clashed on a proposed $6.4 billion arms sale to Taiwan. The American government has historically supported Taiwan's 1949 break from mainland China, and promised to defend them against invasion in a 1955 resolution. This American sale of arms to Taiwan is in stark contrast to the U.S. ban on American companies selling weapons to mainland China for the past 20 years.
With such strong disagreements between our nations on matters that impact our economic and foreign policy well-being, China's discouraging dismissal of talks may sound curious. Some argue that it is merely diplomatic gamesmanship. However, I subscribe to the theory that with China remaining the largest holder of U.S. debt -- nearly $900 billion as of March 2010 -- they in part feel emboldened to treat us as subordinates.
In order to secure our standing in the international community and take away this strategic advantage from the Chinese, our nation must reduce its rapidly growing deficit and debt burden to loan sharks such as the Chinese. To truly engage China, this administration must realize that debt reduction is as important to our security as any military weapons program. And if we do make this a national priority, perhaps in 10 years such high-level overtures will be met with greater response and respect from our friends in Beijing.