US should demonstrate rationality, vision to stabilize China ties

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DM Monitoring

BEIJING: The relationship between China and the United States has arrived at a highly critical juncture after over four decades of generally stable development.
The future of what many consider the world’s most important bilateral relationship now hinges upon whether Washington has the much needed rationality and vision to make the right choice.
Over the past few months, a handful of hardliners in Washington have launched a China-smearing campaign over the coronavirus pandemic and human rights in Xinjiang, meddled in China’s internal affairs concerning Hong Kong, Taiwan and the South China Sea, cracked down on Chinese tech firms, and deliberately stirred up an ideological confrontation with Beijing. Most recently, Washington abruptly ordered the closure of the Chinese Consulate General in Houston, an unjustified and reckless political provocation.
As a result, the relationship between the world’s top two economies now faces what Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi recently described as the most serious challenge since the two sides forged diplomatic ties 40 years ago.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in his recent fact-twisting speech at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library, claimed that America’s policy of engagement with China is wrong and has failed, in a bid to deny the tremendous benefits the two sides have jointly delivered to their peoples and the rest of the world, and legitimize his call to form an anti-China alliance. In order to navigate the China-U.S. relationship through such uncharted and turbulent waters, it is important for the two sides to set straight misinterpretations from Washington’s China hawks about the history of the exchanges and cooperation between the two countries.
In the past 40 years, bilateral trade between China and the United States has increased dramatically, from a negligible 2.5 billion U.S. dollars in the late 1970s to the incredible amount of over 630 billion dollars in 2018. The robust economic and trade relationship has supported around 2.6 million jobs in the United States across a range of industries, and over 72,500 U.S. companies have investments or business in China.
Moreover, cooperation between the two countries in major global issues, like fighting terrorism, tackling the 2008 financial crisis and coping with the climate change challenge, has made significant contributions to sustaining peace and stability, and promoting development around the world. To turn the current dangerous tide in the bilateral relationship around and put it back on the right track, the United States needs to immediately stop pushing in the wrong direction and start taking de-escalatory and remedial actions. Firstly, it should respect China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and stop interfering in China’s domestic affairs, just as China respects those of the United States.
And though in the face of Washington’s provocation Beijing has always kept maximum restraint, that does not mean that the country will bow to bullying. Indeed, China has every right to make a legitimate and firm response to defend its national interests.
Secondly, China will firmly follow its own path of development and pursue its rightful goal of great national rejuvenation for the Chinese people. Washington should rid itself of the delusion that Beijing will somehow change course and adopt U.S.-style political and social systems.
Thirdly, Washington should join Beijing in reactivating communication at all levels and in all-important sectors such as economy and trade and security, as well as cultural and people-to-people exchanges, so as to avoid any high-risk strategic misjudgement.
The United States should also work with China and the rest of the international community to step up international cooperation, particularly in the ongoing fight against the pandemic, and to support the multilateral system with the United Nations at the center and make it better and more effective, instead of turning against it.
Now, the ball is in the U.S.’ court. For the interests of both China and the United States, as well as those of the wider world, China is always ready to work with the U.S. side to boost bilateral ties on the basis of coordination, cooperation and stability, and to maintain global peace and prosperity.
The development of China and of the United States is not a zero-sum game, and the two countries should not reject each other but draw on each other’s strength to achieve common development, Wang noted on Wednesday. It is wise for U.S. policymakers to ditch their Cold-War mentality and political shortsightedness, demonstrate wisdom and vision, and meet Beijing halfway for a better, shared future of the two peoples and those worldwide.