[half]In the United States, substantial influence on the US/China relationship can be found at the state level and below. These sub-national efforts often find support for their particular program goals from a combination of public and private funding, both of which have recently shrunk considerably. American civil society is the primary supporter for many sub-national level programs. Many of these civic organization leaders know one another, but are often limited in their exposure to a city, state or regional perspective. A national network of connections has yet to naturally appear in the past 30 years of experience with several official state/province relationships; The Tai Initiative makes possible a national network for all these participants to reach out to one another, when inspired or needed, to sustain and inspire greater program growth across America.
In the People’s Republic of China (PRC), substantial influence on the US/China relationship can also be found at the provincial level. This influence and engagement, however, is supported almost entirely by the funding and policies of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), since civil society in the PRC is still in the early stages of growth and development. Therefore, successful US/China relations at the sub-national level must work with and engage government leaders. The need for greater national support to this sub-national relationships was recognized by the central government of China when Foreign Minister Yang joined Secretary of State Clinton in signing the Memorandum of Understanding Concerning the Establishment of a U.S.-China Governors Forum to Promote Subnational Cooperation. The foundation for this agreement was laid at the second round of the Strategic and Economic Dialogue in May 2010, when the United States and China pledged to enhance bilateral economic cooperation at the subnational levels.
Yet many of the most successful Americans producing the best examples of trust in the sub-national relationship have no official position with which to represent government policy. At the same time, in the current U.S. economy many state-level government workers tasked to promote US/China ties are too poorly resourced, despite their official position, to apply the necessary time and energy required to invest substantially in the US/China relationship. This overall situation provides a unique challenge to communications at the sub-national level, yet great success stories can still be found.
The Tai Initiative networks officials and citizen leaders of both countries in one community. In one network, rather than two, we believe The Tai Initiative will uncover the best opportunities and methods to overcome traditional obstacles to communication, understanding, and — ultimately — trust.[/half]