Editor's Note: The following is reprinted with the permission of the Council on Foreign Relations.
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 theU.S. embassy inBeijing 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 theUnited States, but rather accept an offer to study atNew YorkUniversity. 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.
U.S. Extracts Economic Concessions From China
During annual U.S.-China strategic and economic talks, overshadowed by the unresolved case of Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng, Chinaagreed to revise financing and regulatory conditions that favor state-owned enterprises (NYT) and allow greater private competition,U.S. officials said today.
This CFR Backgrounder explores the root causes of ongoing U.S.-China economic imbalances.
SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA
U.S. Releases Bin Laden Letters
The CombatingTerrorismCenterat the U.S. Military Academy at West Point released letters by Osama bin Laden, which were confiscated during the raid that killed the former al-Qaeda chief at his Abbottabad, Pakistan, compound a year ago. Bin Laden's correspondence points to a divided organizationstruggling to stay relevant in the Arab world (CNN).
PAKISTAN: Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan launched a suicide attack on a police checkpoint (Reuters) near a crowded market in the northwestern Bajaur region, killing at least twenty people.
Syrian Students Killed in Crackdown
Syrian security forces raided student dormitories at a university in Aleppoin response to anti-government protests at the school (al-Jazeera), killing at least four students and wounding others, Syrian activists and opposition groups said.
IRAN: The country is holding a second round of parliamentary elections today (BBC) that is expected to advance conservative opponents of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Obama Invites African Leaders to G8
U.S. President Barack Obama invited the leaders of Benin, Ethiopia, Ghana, and Tanzaniato join G8 leaders in a session on food security (Reuters) during a summit at the Camp David presidential retreat inMaryland later this month.
SUDAN: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Sudan to end bombings (AFP) against South Sudan during a meeting with Chinese leaders inBeijing, a day afterSudan agreed to cease hostilities in accordance with a unanimous UN resolution passed this week.
With Sudan and South Sudan on the brink of war, theUnited States andChina must press both sides to return to the negotiating table, saysAfrica expert Jendayi Frazer in this CFR Interview.
Ukraine Warns Germany of Economic Repercussions
A top Ukrainian government official warned Berlinof economic consequences if it continues to pressure Kievto allow imprisoned former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko (DerSpiegel) to go abroad for medical treatment.
GREECE: The country's election on Sunday is expected to signal a rejection of the political establishment and its austerity policies (WSJ) implemented in response to the ongoing sovereign debt crisis, while threatening to undo the second EU-IMF bailout forGreece that was agreed to earlier this year.
New questions over the wisdom of unfettered budget cuts are shifting the emphasis of eurozone crisis responses from austerity to growth, says economist Thomas Philippon in this CFR Interview.
Brazil Deploying Troops to Guard Amazon
Brazilis in the process of sending more than 8,500 troops to the Amazon rainforest this month in an effort to target drug smuggling, gold mining, and illegal deforestation (NYT), ahead of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development inRio de Janeiro in June.
UNITED STATES: Police discovered 115 suspected illegal immigrants locked inside three small houses against their will (BBC) in aTexas town near theU.S. border withMexico. Authorities charged two men with conspiring to harbor illegal immigrants.
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 atForeign Policy says Ron Paul, still campaigning in the background, is the best hope forU.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 addressingSyria,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.