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Huntsman discusses relationship between China, US

SIOUX FALLS (AP) — This century's biggest story will be the rise of China to superpower status and how the United States reacts to it, former Utah governor and U.S. ambassador to China Jon Huntsman said Monday night during a speech at a South Dakota college.

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Huntsman talked about the relationship between the two economically powerful countries and how the next 10 years in China have the potential to be the most transformative in the country's history, because of several immense challenges its new leaders face, the Argus Leader reports. He said a top issue is a looming debt problem.

"They're going to have to make their central bank independent," he said of China's leaders during the speech at Augustana College's Boe Forum on Public Affairs.

The one-time Republican presidential candidate and recognized China specialist said the country's central bank is controlled too tightly by its communist party and government to adapt interest rates to rapid changes that are likely to occur in the next decade.

Huntsman said China also will have to deal with massive government corruption — a growing source of discontent for the Chinese people.

"It's deep and it's endemic," he said.

Another source of change in China will be the growing access that citizens in the country have to the rest of the world through the Internet and the difficulty in managing this, Huntsman said. Bloggers are going off the Chinese Community party's message and causing ordinary citizens to question how the country is governed, he said, adding that it will lead to reforms.