What is true US motivation for trade war?

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/6/10 22:16:29

The China-US trade war is mired in a stalemate. Strategic distrust between the two sides is deepening. There is a severe lack of political motivation to break the deadlock.

Is this a trade war in the traditional sense? At the very beginning, both sides believed the US was trying to redefine China-US relations via the trade war. But such viewpoints were not that solid. 

It appeared that US President Donald Trump was aiming to solve the trade imbalance between the two countries and protect US intellectual property rights in a way he deemed appropriate. But he has many radical advisors around him. The attitude of Washington was swaying.

The US crackdown on Chinese tech giant Huawei reinforces the understanding of Chinese society that the US did not simply intend to address the trade imbalance but also wanted to deal a heavy blow to China's high-tech development capability and further contain China's development. The maximum pressure imposed by the US has also generated a serious sense of crisis among the Chinese people.

If China compromises, that means it renders the US the right to define and reshape future China-US relations at will. The US would resort to maximum pressure as a means to make hegemonic demands at China, a catastrophe for China's national security.

Washington often claims that China's development model poses a threat, while the Chinese people tend to think that the US elite do not accept China's development based on its current strength.

The US should understand that China's rapid development is driven by the wish of the Chinese people to live a better life. US containment of China's development, in essence, restricts the right of the Chinese people to improve their lives. If the US links the trade war with China to its suppression of the Chinese people's wishes, it is a dangerous confrontation with the collective right of the Chinese people.

China and the US can negotiate their ways of trading. China's development is a win-win and all-win process. If China's development squeezes the room of other countries, it would be unsustainable and China will be bound to adjust. 

China cannot accept the bossy US approach. Washington uses tariffs as a stick, a hegemonic move that threatens China's national interests. If the US institutionalizes such an attitude toward China, uses tariffs and cuts off supply of high-tech products like chips as leverage, China will firmly resist US pressure at whatever cost.

Both China and the US must be clear and make it clear to each other what they want to gain from the trade war. Their words must match deeds and trust on the other side. If distrust prevails from this strategic problem, China-US ties can hardly ease and any new agreement, if made, will soon be scrapped.

The global economic integration resulting from globalization is different from that of the Cold War era. People of all countries cherish peace and are tired of conflicts and chaos. This means a new cold war will not persist as a long-term strategy.

China and the US should avoid the worst-case scenario that will be detrimental to both countries and their peoples. If the US chooses to suppress China, China's countermeasures will be its strategic choice.

Posted in: EDITORIAL

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