Top of the Agenda: China Says Dissident Can Apply to Study Abroad
Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng is eligible to apply to study abroad "just like any other Chinese citizen" (NYT), the Chinese Foreign Ministry said today. The announcement came shortly after Chen, who escaped from house arrest and was sheltered at the U.S. embassy in Beijing for six days before being moved to a nearby hospital on Wednesday, indicated to a friend that he did not wish to seek political asylum in the United States, but rather accept an offer to study at New York University. The foreign ministry statement offered a potential route out of an impasse that has undermined U.S.-China relations and embarrassed U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
"The past two months in China have revealed something profound about the outsized expectations that China and the United States have for each other and the often-feeble returns on what many call the most important bilateral relationship in the world," writes John Pomfret for the Washington Post.
"After the collapse of the initial agreement on Chen, it's possible to see the foreign ministry's statement through a more pessimistic light. Just like other Chinese citizens he can apply to study abroad, but there's no guarantee he'll be approved," writes TIME's Austin Ramzy.
"Those traits may have made him a great activist in a country that badly needs them. But they are not helping him navigate the great-power politics that he's been thrust into. He is stuck between the two most powerful states in the world, stuck in the middle of a much larger U.S.-China conversation about human rights that has been running since President Clinton reopened the relationship in the mid-1990s," writes the Atlantic's Max Fisher.
GOP Sees Opening on China's Dissident
As the story of Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng continues to develop, Republicans and presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney are taking the predicament as an opportunity to hit President Barack Obama on foreign policy (Politico).
Though Romney is presumed to be the Republican Party's nominee for president, Michael Scheuer at Foreign Policy says Ron Paul, still campaigning in the background, is the best hope for U.S. foreign policy.
Adding to the list of analysts examining President Obama's foreign policy in an election year is Brookings' Michael O'Hanlon, who writes in Politico that questions about addressing Syria, Iran, and other international challenges will reveal important distinctions between the candidates and their parties.
Editor's Note: For more information on the presidential election and foreign policy check out CFR's campaign blog, The Candidates and the World.