China-US tension eased a bit by dialogue

Source:Global Times Published: 2016-6-8 1:03:13

With more than 100 achievements, the eighth China-US Strategic & Economic Dialogue (S&ED) concluded on Tuesday. There were plenty of discrepancies between the two the media could hype up, but US Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters on Tuesday evening that this was a "productive" dialogue. Regarding China's law on foreign NGO management, he said that the two sides held "in-depth" and "thorough" discussions over it.

It is often the case that China is more willing to stress the positive results of the dialogue while the US reveals more discrepancies than the Chinese side.  The disagreement between Beijing and Washington over the South China Sea issue is unlikely to be solved through one dialogue. Kerry also said yesterday that "Hopefully, as we go forward, President Obama's policy, as he has expressed many times, will in fact dovetail with the State policy of China."

In the economic dialogue session, the media focused on the overcapacity in China's steel sector, the topic of which was hyped up by the US. US delegates blamed China's overcapacity problem for "dragging down" the world economy, while China's Finance Minister Lou Jiwei criticized the US for over exaggeration.

China favors talking about the new type of major power relations between China and the US and emphasizing cooperation, while the attitude of the US fluctuates. This shows China cares more about maintaining good Sino-US relations. The reason is that China's overall strength is weaker than that of the US and China attaches particular attention to the impact of bilateral relations on its diplomacy and domestic development.

The S&ED has provided a chance to sort out the bilateral relationship. Over the years, the two have been competing with each other without ties being broken. But how stable will such relations be? The South China Sea issue adds uncertainty to bilateral relations. Whether the stability of the relations will overcome the sea disputes or whether the latter will impair bilateral relations is teetering on the brink. 

Both societies hope their governments could cope with the challenges with a hard-line approach. But the public in both countries do not wish for a military clash between the two, and both governments should be clear about this. If the competition between China and the US in the Western Pacific can be managed firmly and peace in the entire Asia-Pacific region can be cast-iron, the two governments will be lauded by history. 

The US military has exposed the negative side of Washington's strategic circle toward China in recent years. Through the S&ED, the US seems to swing back a little. But it still remains uncertain whether Washington will restrain its provocation on the South China Sea issue.

Posted in: Editorial

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