Washington needs to let reason prevail on China ties

Source:Xinhua Published: 2019/6/26 17:26:57

For the United States and China, 2019 should be a year of celebration for the 40th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations.

Rather, a perilous "new normal" that features US unilateral measures and growing hostility against China threatens to upend one of the world's most important bilateral relationships.

For now, a proposition appears to seize Washington that views China and the United States as being locked in a confrontational competition in which Washington must win. Some political pundits even float the idea that the two countries are entering a new "Cold War."

It is wise to keep in mind that some of those who clamor for a hard-nosed approach to address the so-called "China threat" are the same batch of China hawks who have spent years or even decades promoting, but to no avail, a confrontational China strategy.

After being marginalized by the US mainstream for decades, those China-bashers now appear to gain the upper hand in a political environment that enshrines "America First" in its doctrine to govern.

Washington's ongoing trade war against China seems to be not a practice of a rational economic policy, but rather a late revenge by China hawks like Peter Navarro and Steve Bannon, who have spent all the years screaming about a tough confrontation against a "red China," and finally can carry some clout in a pro-protectionist administration.

For more than a year, instead of scoring an "easy win," what the current US administration has collected from the tariff offensive against China is rising consumer costs for ordinary Americans and growing oppositions from US farmers, industry workers and business leaders.

Plus, the deepening trade tensions are risking a slower US economic growth, even a recession next year. According to the Duke University/CFO Global Business Outlook survey released earlier this month, nearly half of chief financial officers in the United States are predicting the US economy will be in recession by the middle of 2020, and they said trade wars are one of the main paralyzing factors.

Also, a worsening trade situation between the world's top two economies bears negative global ramifications. Washington's protectionist trade polices are disrupting global supply chains, and eroding the world's confidence in free trade, and could further dampen the prospect for global economy.

A robust China-US relationship can not only give a strong boost to the global economy, but also help the international community solve many of the world's daunting challenges, such as climate change, terrorism, cross-border crimes, narco-trafficking and nuclear non-proliferation.

Therefore, whether the United States and China can work together is a vital question that concerns global stability and well-being.

"We are in a position in which the peace and prosperity of the world depend on whether China and the United States can find a method to work together, not always in agreement, but to handle our disagreements," said Henry Kissinger, former US secretary of state and a foreign policy heavyweight, at an event in Washington last September.

The most important experience gained by Beijing and Washington in the past four decades is that rapport between the two sides led to "an era distinguished by peace in East Asia and the Pacific region," former US President Jimmy Carter noted last December.

China's impressive performance in boosting its economy and the continued integration of Chinese and US economies have also enabled the two countries to become "engines of global prosperity," the former US leader added.

Both Carter and Kissinger helped set the China-US diplomatic relationship in motion. They represent the voice of reason against the dangerous mentality in Washington that wrongheadedly regards China's rise as a strategic challenge that must be trounced.

In his congratulatory message on the 40th anniversary of the establishment of China-US diplomatic relations early this year, US President Donald Trump said it is his priority to promote constructive US-China relations.

To that end, his administration should make the first step of listening to reason. The coming Group of 20 summit is a good chance to start.


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