How should China shape ties with US?

By Tang Yongsheng Source:Global Times Published: 2020/1/7 18:43:40

Photo: VCG

To have an upper hand in its quest for supremacy, the US will not quit the strategic race against China easily. In the face of this unprecedentedly profound, complex and comprehensive competition, China should take the initiative and lead the direction.

First, we need to have a clear picture of the current situation. Tensions between the two big powers will continue for quite a long time, and there are chances of severe crises breaking out. As a result, China should not be anxious to achieve quick success or have unrealistic expectations. Only by improving its strategic capabilities and being strategically prepared can China handle the complicated relations and mitigate potential risks.

Second, history has proven that China's stability and development is a prerequisite for better ties with the US. China should transform the pressure from the US to an impetus for self-improvement and manage its domestic affairs efficiently. 

Economically, China should improve its capacity for self-development, reduce dependence on US market, and make greater efforts to enhance the role of domestic demand in spurring economic growth.

In terms of military, the army should be strengthened through reforms. China should devote itself to building a world-class army so that we can be equipped to win possible wars under specific conditions.

For social development, China needs to continue to drive forward domestic reform and adjust its social structure, besides striking a balance between efficiency and fairness.

Most importantly, China should persist in the reform and opening-up and improve governance. Innovation and reform in development pattern and governance has become the core of international competition. Only the country able to make a breakthrough and take the lead in this regard can have the upper hand in the future. Hence, there is an urgent need for China to refine its national development pattern and improve governance, which will serve as a solid foundation for the country to stand in the world and manage ties with the US.

Third, China needs to properly handle its relations with neighboring countries. As a crucial power in Asia, China should uphold justice and pursue shared interests, give full play to its geopolitical advantage, and make full use of international cooperation.

Fourth, in getting along with the US, no matter what the situation, China should always maintain strategic communication to avoid misjudgment and misunderstanding. 

Despite the difficulties, China needs to create more opportunities for future cooperation with the US, which can lead bilateral ties back on the right track. Only through mutual development will the two powers avoid falling into the Thucydides' Trap.

For China, the turbulent international situation poses serious challenges but brings some opportunities as well. The competition between China and the US is more like a comprehensive game than a new cold war. 

As Sun Tzu said in the Art of War, "Those who are good at fighting always seek victory from the favorable situations they create." China should have an insight into the trend of international politics and keep up with it. In particular, the country should make the best use of the circumstances to lead the direction in China-US ties and gain the initiative.

The author is a professor with the College of National Security at the PLA National Defence University. The article was compiled based on his recent speech at Beijing Language and Culture University.

Posted in: VIEWPOINT

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