US strategic rivalry with growing China will prove mistaken in long term

By Zhang Jie Source:Global Times Published: 2014-5-13 0:08:01

Washington's "pivot to Asia" strategy has exerted a constant, significant impact on China's geopolitics. Recent statements and behaviors by Washington have clearly signaled its intention to treat China as its primary strategic rival. The US' ambiguous attitude concerning sanctions on Moscow amid the Ukraine crisis indirectly demonstrates that it is China that Washington deems its biggest competitor.

The US has designed a comprehensive set of strategic institutions to contain China. It seeks to stir up troubles through China's domestic problems.

The US also deliberately supports and assists regional countries involving in territorial or maritime disputes with China, so as to undermine Beijing's geopolitical and economic connections in East Asia.

In the meantime, Washington is engaging in transpacific and transatlantic negotiations to set up a new system of rules that involve more than 20 countries and that will guide the global trade in services. For now, China is excluded from this process, which might weaken its advantage in global trade and block the channels for the transformation and upgrading of China's economic structure.

It is likely that the US will also take advantage of the high risks and fragility of China's current social stage of transformation, trying to transplant a "democratic revolution" and ruin China's catch-up capacity from inside.

Nonetheless, judging from both Washington's strategic intention and specific measures it adopts, the "pivot to Asia" strategy is a significant strategic misjudgment by the US.

The economic interdependence between China and the US serves as a solid stabilizer that balances Washington's "pivot to Asia" strategy. In fact, the interdependence of the global economy determines that no country can excludes China, an open and massive economy, from the global trade system. 

China has neither a historic memory of seeking fierce expansion, nor strives for global hegemony.

Beijing has been stressing safeguarding its own core interests and maintaining a friendly external environment as the focus of its diplomatic strategy.

Some foreign scholars and analysts insist that once China replaces the US as the world's largest economy, it will turn to seeking hegemony.

This is blunt prejudice that reflects these countries' own reliance on global hegemony and expansion.

The essential logic behind Washington's "pivot to Asia" strategy is largely to deal with a 21st century China with the 19th century system of ideologies and values. China's development does not exclude democracy and freedom at all. The fading of the "color revolution" in some countries and current reflections upon the deficiencies of Western democracy will prompt the emergence of new theories and practices of national governance.

The continuity of China's history and culture, combined with the special personality of the Chinese people, decides that the unique flexibility and tolerance of Chinese society can provide a relatively stable internal environment for the nation's reform. The Chinese government attaches great importance to positive reform and the adjustment of interest structure.

China needs to carry on the existing guideline of peaceful development, and keep consolidating economic interdependence with major countries in both regional and global spheres.

How the US interprets and deals with China's rise will play a decisive role in the world's future.

The author is a research fellow with the National Academy of Development and Strategy, Renmin University of China.

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