China-US relations heading toward uncharted waters dominate Global Times annual conference

Source:Global Times Published: 2018/12/9 18:48:40

Scholars attended the Global Times Annual Event in Beijing on Saturday. Photos: Li Hao, Cui Meng/GT

Editor's Note:

The Global Times Annual Event was held on Saturday in Beijing, attended by dozens of scholars and experts in various fields. This year's theme was "The Game between China and the US and the Situation of the World." Participants shared their views on China-US ties and key issues of 2018 and made their predications for the future.

How will the China-US ties go in the future?


Yang Yi, rear admiral and former director of the National Defense University's Institute for Strategic Studies

I am worried about the prospect of China-US relations because now they are at a significant and dangerous crossroads.

First, the strategic aims of China and the US are at odds. China wants to achieve national rejuvenation and the US wants to make itself great again. Both of them think the other wants to hurt them.

Second, the US is offensive, while China is defensive. The anxiety of the US made it take irrational actions in its general strategy. China hopes to maintain a stable relationship with the US.

Third, it is possible that the interactions between China and the US fall into a vicious circle and become uncontrollable. An unexpected strategy may bring about unpleasant compromises.


Zhang Yiwu, professor at Peking University

China has already become very significant for the US in terms of changing the US view of culture, concepts, and more importantly the world.

China and the US have many differences in their culture, ideas and goals. These differences could be resolved, but the US doesn't want to find common ground. China's well-meaning actions, such as establishing the Confucius Institute in the US to promote Chinese language, have become disputed topics.

I believe as long as the two countries sour on the cultural level, their social, economic and political relations will sour as well. This is the problem that we are going to face in 2019.


William Zarit, chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China

I would say the result of China-US trade friction would be win-win. Why? The US hopes China could open its investment and trade market, which is in fact good for China's economy. In history, when China opened up its economy, it became more advanced. As a result, opening China's market is good for itself.

Meanwhile, it is also good for the US. Nowadays, many American companies think the current platform is unfair. They said the economic relationship between the two countries are unequal and without peer intervention.


Yang Xiyu, senior research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies

I personally pay high attention on the "90 days" [referred to by US President Donald Trump as a period in which trade disputes should be resolved].

If China and the US can reach an agreement, it will be a new start not only for China-US relations, but also for China's further reform and opening-up. Beyond a China-US trade war, problems about China's market and the county's negative list should be resolved.

As a result, be it 90 days, or 120 days, the current trade truce between Beijing and Washington will lead to a new agreement with structural changes. It will build pressure on China for further reform and opening-up.

I think the agreement after 90 days or a little bit longer is very significant to stabilize China-US relations. 

What lies ahead the South China Sea issue and the Taiwan question?


Zhu Feng, executive director at the China Center for Collaborative Studies of the South China Sea and dean of the School of International Relations at Nanjing University

The US is militarizing the South China Sea more than China. It conducted "free navigations" in the region - four times during the Obama Administration and nine times in less than two years after current US President Donald Trump came into office. More countries are now joining in this so-called free navigation.

Wang Hongguang, a retired lieutenant general of the People's Liberation Army (PLA)

The PLA is capable of taking over Taiwan within 100 hours with only a few dozen casualties. 2018 is a year of turmoil for Taiwan, and a possible military conflict may take place in Taiwan soon.

As long as the US doesn't attack China-built islands and reefs in the South China Sea, no war will take place in the area. China's moves in the South China Sea should be calm and there is no need to make waves.


Luo Yuan, vice president of the China Strategic Culture Promotion Association

If the US naval fleet dares to stop in Taiwan, it is time for the People's Liberation Army to deploy troops to promote national unity on the island. Achieving China's complete unity is a necessary requirement.

The achievement of the past 40 years of reform and opening-up has given us the capability and confidence to safeguard our sovereignty.

Those who are trying to stir up trouble in the South China Sea and Taiwan should be careful about their future.


Wu Xinbo, director of Fudan University's Center for American Studies

I am not optimistic about the future situation in the South China Sea and Taiwan. The US is taking measures to pressure China to stop deploying military equipment in the South China Sea, including leading media criticism on China, conducting "free navigation" and giving diplomatic pressure.

There are some politicians in the Trump administration who support the pro-independence forces in Taiwan, and they are becoming more influential.

Beyond supporting Taiwan's independence in public, the US may play more tricks on the Taiwan question, which may lead to more severe friction between China and the US.


Huang Jing, a distinguished professor and dean of the Institute on National and Regional Studies at Beijing Language and Culture University

The US is realizing that the value of Taiwan is decreasing and that's why it keeps using it to pressure China. The Taiwan question and South China Sea are the focus of the Sino-US balance game.

The US is trying to squeeze the value out of Taiwan to create problems for China. The Chinese mainland has the initiative to settle the Taiwan question. Chen Shui-Bian has led the pro-independence movement into a dead end and Tsai Ing-wen completely blazed this path.

Dai Xu, president of the Institute of Marine Safety and Cooperation

The US opened three battle lines in the political, military and economic fields against China. The US keeps meddling in China's affairs, so why can't China go to areas like Hawaii where the US is "dominant." The initiative over the South China Sea and Taiwan should rest with China.

If the cross-Straits tension rises, it is time to achieve unity. The extension of the civil war has entered diplomacy because some people have given up their initiative.

Chu Hsin-min, professor at National Chengchi University

In the last two years, Tsai Ing-wen's administration has a basic rule about the cross-Straits relations - she will not compromise under pressure. At the same time, she does not want the relationship to return to an adversarial one.

Under such circumstances, I agree that there will be more challenges for next year's cross-Straits issues.

Tsai won't compromise with the Chinese mainland under pressure, and hence may embrace the US. She may also be inclined to back independence groups due to their support. All of this will lead to intense and adversarial cross-Straits relations. I think we should have strategic patience to avoid any traps in the cross-Straits ties.



Newspaper headline: Next moves for China and US

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