Monday, September 20, 2004
On this day:

Hu's In Charge

Chinese President Hu Jintao took full control of the reins of power in China Sunday. He replaces former President Ziang Zemin as head of the Central Military Commission following Mr. Ziang's resignation. Mr. Hu has been the General Secretary of China's Communist Party since 2002 and President since 2003. So Hu now controls the government, the party, and the military of the world's most populous nation.

China's future is important to the United States for numerous reasons. First off, China's economy is growing rapidly and is becoming more market-oriented, creating an ever-growing market for American goods. Face it, there are a lot of Chinese. China has become our third largest trading partner, behind Canada and Mexico. It bumped Japan out of third place in 2003. Trade equals wealth, and both countries have benefited tremendously from it. Aside from our economic relationship, the big geopolitical issues between us deal with North Korea and Taiwan. In those two cases, the stakes couldn't be much higher. There is the constant risk of military confrontation over Taiwan, but we need each other's immediate cooperation in dealing with North Korea.

So, the question on my mind is, "How will China's approach to these problems change now that there's one guy in charge of all three components of the power structure?" And the answer, is, of course...

Hu knows.