New impetus needed to further Sino-US ties

Source:Global Times Published: 2015-5-13 0:03:03

US Secretary of State John Kerry will visit Beijing this weekend in a bid to be better prepared for the next round of China-US strategic and economic dialogue and Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to the US this September. Coming hard on the heels of Xi's visit to Moscow, which has enhanced China-Russia ties, the effort of Beijing and Washington seeking more mutual trust has been thrust into the spotlight.

The China-US relationship might not be as inspiring as their top leaders' schedules seem to be. David Lampton, a well-noted US scholar of China studies, raised his concerns in a keynote speech at the Carter Center in Atlanta.

Lampton said "things unfortunately have changed dramatically since about 2010.  The tipping point is near ... We are witnessing the erosion of some critical underlying supports for predominantly positive US-China ties."

The China-US relationship is a complex network, whose trajectory can hardly be defined by generic terms such as "improving" or "worsening." Recent years have seen the conflicts over age-old issues still linger, but rivalries over other spheres of national interest are dramatically eroding mutual trust.

In the past, both sides had the confidence that a war was not even an option in bilateral relations, but now, although war is the last thing they want to see, both nations are actually considering the possibility.

It is essential that China and the US conduct more effective communication. They need to interpret their strategic moves to each other in a more proactive and convincing manner.

China and the US have gathered much experience in and established enough channels for risk control, which have greatly reduced the likelihood of physical confrontation.

These assets can only serve as an impetus to improve mutual trust when they share the same vision for the future of  the Asia-Pacific region, in which China will have enough space for development, while US leadership on the global stage will not be fatally impacted by China's rise.

China will remain on the disadvantaged and defensive side in the bilateral relationship with the US. China will continue focusing its attention on internal affairs, and a full-scale challenge against the US will not be on Beijing's agenda. Over-anxious about its own security, the US is paranoid about China's growth, which it conceives as a "threat." Washington should be cautious against an indulgence of offensive thinking.

Posted in: Editorial

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