US needs to balance voices on China to bridge society

By Yu Jincui Source:Global Times Published: 2019/7/1 20:13:40

How the China-US relations will develop is not only of vital importance to the world but will also shape the world's future development. When US hawks are more interested in decoupling the two countries, opposition has also been growing. 

In a draft open letter to US President Donald Trump and Congress seen by Reuters Saturday, some 80 Asia specialists, including former veteran US diplomats and military officers, called Washington to rethink policies that "treat China as an enemy," warning the approach could put US interests and the global economy in jeopardy. 

US efforts to "decouple it from the global economy will damage America's international role and reputation and undermine the economic interests of all nations," the signatories, including Susan Thornton, a former top diplomat for East Asian affairs, and J. Stapleton Roy, a former US ambassador to China, said in the draft. 

Reuters reported that more signatures were being solicited. It remains unknown when a final version would be released and whether it will wield influence on the Trump administration. But it indicates that many people, especially those who really know China and the significance of China-US relations, have realized that there is a real danger in the way the Trump administration deals with China as an enemy. 

Since the Trump administration defined China as a strategic competitor, amid a US-launched trade war and crackdown on Chinese tech companies, fears have been swirling over whether the world's two biggest economies are slipping into a strategic confrontation similar to the US-Soviet Union confrontation during the Cold War era. The US policy toward China has been heavily influenced by right-wing politicians and hawks who are pushing to decouple the US and China economically and technologically. However, with the pain brought by strained bilateral relations increasingly felt in the US, opposition is also rising to prevent politicians from leading bilateral relations into a dead end.

China-US relations are one of the most important and complicated bilateral relations worldwide. Forty years of development have linked the two countries with deeply interconnected interests. Cooperation is in the interests of both countries while confrontation hurts both. This has turned out to be particularly true in the trade war. 

The Trump administration is bound to face greater opposition against its approach in dealing with China as the interests of US farmers and businesses are being damaged. Some heavyweights in US strategic and academic circles have been aware of the risks that worsening bilateral relations would bring and have raised different views.

Balancing the interests of different sides is a test to American policymakers and political system. Concerns are growing that the US ability to strike a balance among different parties is waning under the Trump administration. A US president who can receive the highest approval rating must be one that is most adept at balancing interests. As Trump prepares for the 2020 presidential elections, it is suggested he take these different opinions over the US' China policy into account. If Trump could balance different voices over China, it's also helpful for him to bridge a divided American society.

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