As for Hu, he is faced with a conundrum. Iran is China's biggest oil supplier, and Beijing has always been a staunch supporter of Tehran. The US, UK, France, and Germany are taking a consistent stance on Iran's nuclear activities, making Beijing feel isolated.
In short, China has not been able to form an alliance with the EU to counterbalance the US -- a failure that will greatly reduce its influence on world affairs.
Cao Changqing is a Chinese dissident and writer based in the US.
TRANSLATED BY DANIEL CHENG