US Vice President Joe Biden concludes his six-day visit to China today. The US media holds that as the debt crisis undermines the US' status, Biden has been pressed by China on the stability of the US dollar, instead of pressing Beijing over the yuan. This is not the right attitude to have.
It is a ludicrous assumption that the US should press China over thorny issues in their bilateral relations. The yuan is China's sovereign currency, and it is absurd that its exchange rate should be decided by the US Congress. US pressure may have some effect, but it is certainly not an "order" for China.
Moreover, it is quite natural that China wants a stable US dollar, a wish shared by Americans. It is narrow-minded to associate China's concerns with the so-called shake-up of economic strength between the two powers.
During Biden's visit, the atmosphere of dialogue between both sides was much better than predicted by many Western media outlets. US leaders are more level-headed when dealing with China, because they have to be responsible for US interests.
In comparison, some US media professionals and congressmen urged Biden to be tough on China and mocked him for currying favor here. It seems that in their eyes, the US would prove its power only if Biden had picked fights.
The economic bonds between the US and China determine that their relationship has to be fully pragmatic. The US neither gives orders to nor receives them from China.
Is the US in decline? This is a boring question. It is a clear tendency that the US economic volume represents a smaller and smaller proportion of the global total.
This could be called the "relative decline" of the US. But it is equally clear that the economic, military, political and technological strength of the US are paramount. We need to deal in everyday life with US leadership in various fields.
A few US media outlets simplified Biden's visit as ensuring the Chinese of the safety of their investments in the US. This is a humiliation of their Vice President. China is the largest holder of US debt, but this is just one small piece of the complex China-US relationship.
The two countries should maintain basic bona fides in strategic considerations, a prerequisite to avoid over-interpreting potential unfriendly moves. If the two countries really care about the influence their relationship exerts on the benefits of people across the world, they can fix many problems more easily via frequent exchanges and contacts.