Three fingers point back after experts upbraid China in letter to Trump

By Shen Dingli Source:Global Times Published: 2019/7/25 21:23:40

Photo: Xinhua

Over 100 China experts in the US recently wrote an open letter to US President Donald Trump, urging him to stay the course in dealing with China. It calls on the US government to take the "existential threats" from China seriously and "strengthen our alliances with like-minded democracies and ultimately to defeat the PRC's (People's Republic of China) global ambitions to suppress freedom and liberty." 

The letter makes a series of accusations against China. Criticizing China for expanding its global influence, it says: "The PRC is not and never has been a peaceful regime." The implication is that the US is the regime that brings most peace to humanity, which is astonishing. The US did bring development and security to mankind, but that was long ago. After reading the letter, one doubts whether the writers are criticizing China or the US itself?

The letter says, "China is not as we wish it to be. In our political system, politics is the norm, and war is the exception." It is acknowledged that the US, founded for 243 years, has been at war for two centuries. In the 21st century, the US has been involved in military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria.

In comparison, since the skirmish in the waters near China's Chigua Reef in 1998, Beijing has not been involved in any conflicts with foreign military for 21 years. During the period, China has encountered external security threats. Among them, the biggest threat is the US, which has been blatantly selling arms to the island of Taiwan, gravely threatening China's sovereignty and reunification. Furthermore, some neighboring nations have also been challenging China's sovereignty and rights and interests over the Diaoyu Islands, South China Sea reefs and islands and South Tibet.

China has the right to take action on the basis of national and international laws. However, China handled the situation on just grounds and with restraint. For China, politics is the norm, war is the exception.

The letter also said that China "does not recognize the principles and rules of the existing international order." But in fact, in the areas where the two countries have serious divergences, it is the US rather than China that does not recognize principles and rules.

As is known to all, the UN Charter is the fountainhead of current international order. But has the US followed the UN Charter on the Taiwan question, the East China Sea and South China Sea issues?

The signatories of the letter bragged that they were protectors of the current international order. But why have they turned a deaf ear to the Trump administration's acts of challenging the global order? It is the current US administration that has been withdrawing from existing international organizations, including the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, the Iran nuclear deal, the UN Human Rights Council, the UNESCO and the Universal Postal Union. The current upheaval and turmoil from West Asia to North Africa and from South Asia to Europe has been caused by the US frequently resorting to force and betraying its ignorance of international order.

The letter even accuses China of "expanding its reach around the globe." But isn't it every country's justified right to expand its influence? How can the US expand its reach but other countries, including China, cannot? Such expansion should be welcomed as long as it is legitimate and reasonable, favored by other countries and in line with the principle of reciprocity. The US proposed to establish the UN, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization, so they may bring international stability and foster development. These suggestions were welcomed around the globe. But why is China regarded as "expansionist" when it is willing to share its development dividends? 

Such a letter has only one effect: Let the readers know how far the US has deviated from the country's founding principle.

The author is a professor with Fudan University.


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