Sino-US ties can’t neglect mutual respect

Source:Global Times Published: 2017/3/22 0:38:39

During US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's China tour over the weekend, he mentioned twice that relations between China and the US should be built on non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation. Beijing often uses the expression to describe a new type of major power relations between the two. Yet Tillerson seems to be the first ever high-level US official to have publicly acknowledged this. Hence his remarks attracted widespread attention.

Some scholars in Washington think tanks and media in the US have been criticizing Tillerson ever since, calling his words a "big mistake," which offered Beijing a "diplomatic victory." Such a response from the US elites is quite surprising.

There are quite a few divergences between Beijing and Washington. Some US people do not wish to see "mutual respect" between the two countries, believing that China's core interests should not be esteemed by the US. When it comes to core interests, frictions happen between Beijing and Washington, but it is very extreme to refuse to accept the principle of "mutual respect."

If major powers are all egocentric without respect toward others, do not treat non-conflict and non-confrontation as the bottom line in their ties with other nations and take no account of win-win cooperation, how can they possibly get along with each other? Isn't that a sheer zero-sum mindset?

When Chinese people heard Tillerson's remarks, nobody sees it as a signal that Washington will make major diplomatic compromises. We have fully prepared ourselves for future difficulties in interacting with US President Donald Trump's administration. However, the reason and sense of fairness in Tillerson's comments are comforting. His statement will benefit the development of bilateral ties and create a better atmosphere for the two sides to solve their disputes. 

Beijing has never asked Washington to respect our core interests while refusing to do the same in return. Nor should the US fantasize that China will be at its beck and call.

Developing toward a new type of major power relationship will likely turn out to be a destined fate between China and the US. When both sides cannot afford the consequences of fierce clashes and confrontations, what other alternatives do the two nations have other than the path of mutual respect and win-win collaboration?

Some US elites are still indulging in severe strategic arrogance, fearing that a tiny bit of fairness could emerge between Beijing and Washington. They have not only failed to follow the changes in the power balance between China and the US, but also lag behind in the era of globalization.

China is not ready to sit with the US as equals at the same table. We respect US advanced technologies and strong comprehensive power. But mutual respect is a principle that must be held on to.

Perhaps some people in the US are not used to definitions that are raised by others while tending to stick to their own language to describe ties with others countries. But history will prove that a new type of major power relationship is the only choice for the two sides in the 21st century.


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