Sino-US competition must not lead to conflict – world


With the United States and China being the world’s two largest economies, their relationship is of global significance, with a major impact on the prospects of Chinese and American multinational enterprises and on the global economy as well as on the effectiveness of global governance. .

In the face of global challenges such as the climate crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic, China and the United States must work together to play a leadership role. The shared fundamental interests of China and the United States mean that the two sides should transcend the traditional framework of great power competition to build a new relationship of cooperation and competition, or “co-opetition.”

In a recent phone call, President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden agreed to continue to maintain regular contact in various ways. Asia-Pacific stocks generally rose after the call, as markets welcomed the signal from China and the United States that they would work to improve relations.

China’s policy towards the United States has remained relatively stable over the long term. China has always advocated win-win cooperation and mutual respect to build a conflict-free and confrontational US-China relationship. Recent statements by Chinese leaders reflect and continue China’s long-term policy towards the United States, indicating that Beijing still hopes that bilateral relations will return to a rational and pragmatic state.

Not surprisingly, China and the United States have different views on democracy and human rights, given the differences in their histories and cultures. It is crucial for both parties to establish mutual trust, to seek and expand their common interests, to engage in extensive bilateral and multilateral international cooperation and, most importantly, to manage and manage disputes and conflict constructively.

First, both parties should exercise restraint on sensitive issues and avoid emotionally motivated decision-making. China and the United States are unmistakably at odds over Hong Kong, Taiwan, the South China Sea, and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. The United States itself also faces pressing problems. The two sides can further communicate to reach a basic consensus on the essentials of Sino-US relations by drawing basic red lines. They are also expected to push for a new joint communiqué or related agreements.

Second, China, the United States and the European Union can establish a coordination mechanism to improve international coordination and global governance. The three parties can regularly exchange views on issues such as international relations, climate change, prevention and control of COVID-19 and reform of the World Trade Organization via a permanent, institutionalized mechanism of dialogue and cooperation, multi-level and wide. This will strengthen mutual understanding, trust and cooperation between China, the United States and Europe, and improve the effectiveness of global governance.

Third, the Belt and Road initiative can be more inclusive and attract the participation of more developed countries. China can cooperate with the Blue Dot Network, a certification mechanism for infrastructure projects launched by the United States, Japan and Australia, the American initiative Build Back Better World, or B3W, and the Globally Connected program. EU Europe. We can also sign cooperation documents in third markets with more countries to jointly develop third markets like in Africa.

Fourth, we must strengthen the people-to-people exchanges between China and the United States, especially the Track II talks, or the behind-the-scenes diplomatic talks, in order to create an atmosphere of public opinion conducive to the de-escalation of Sino-tensions. American. When the pandemic becomes more controllable, China may consider easing visa applications for U.S. students and welcoming more foreigners to study in China.

The two sides should also ease restrictions on journalists and encourage the media to report objectively. Exchanges between American and Chinese think tanks should also be encouraged, with Chinese and American university leaders playing a leading role.

Fifth, we must work to promote the reopening of the United States Consulate General in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, and the Chinese Consulate General in Houston, Texas. The United States and China have already closed these consulates, marking the deterioration of relations between the two parties.

It may be inevitable that China and the United States will compete against each other, but that doesn’t mean they have to face each other. The two sides should seek to engage in more frank exchanges and constructive dialogue, which has been a mutual consensus between high-level officials.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s secret visit to China, and it is an opportunity to reflect and learn from the experience of the older generation of Chinese diplomats and Americans in the management of US-China relations.

On issues such as Afghanistan, climate change, arms control, nuclear non-proliferation and public health, there is a lot of room for cooperation.

The United States and China can fully listen to each other’s concerns and seek to build mutual trust and respect.

Disputes should be put aside when necessary and cooperation a priority. Decoupling is a road to nowhere. The two sides should learn the lessons of history to build a new narrative and a new mechanism for Sino-US relations and add more certainty to world peace and development.

The author is president of the Center for China and Globalization.

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