China exercises restraint, but not out of fear
Published: Aug 19, 2020 09:18 PM

Photo: GT

Is China afraid of the US? As the US, led by President Donald Trump, is carrying out a frenzied crackdown and suppression of China, more and more people have become interested in this question. 

China-US relations have been at the lowest point since the establishment of diplomatic relations over four decades ago. The US is pressing the accelerator to trash bilateral relations, while China is putting the brakes on. Some argue that it's because China is afraid of the US. It's too simplistic a view that misinterprets China's endeavors to bring the bilateral relations back on the right track. 

The worsening China-US relations have been detrimental to the interests of both countries, and have caused anxiety in countries and regions across the world. Except for China hawks in the US who prioritize their personal political interests, does anyone else hope to see a nosedive in China-US relations, the most consequential bilateral relations in the world?  

China is a rising power and has been quite aware of the US attempt to stymie and derail China. What concerns China is that its road to a peaceful rise may become bumpier and more challenging, and that the US effort to decouple from China would cause irreversible damage to both countries as well as the world. However, China has never flinched in front of US provocations and offensive. More importantly, it has developed and acquired enough capabilities to overcome any disruption, and to endure US pressure. 

Every sovereign country that seeks independence will firmly safeguard its core interests. The US believes that sanctions are an effective tool to coerce other countries to yield. But take a look around the world. Has Washington successfully coerced Russia and Iran to succumb? 

With modern troops, a potent arsenal and strong nuclear deterrent, the Chinese military has been strong enough to defend the country's core interests. China is no longer the poor and backward country humiliated by foreign powers before. It will never provoke a war, nor will it step back if confronted with US provocations and violations of China's core interests. The US remains the most powerful country in the world, but it does not have the ability to destroy China. US military superiority cannot offset the risks it will have to face if it has a military showdown with China.  

China has been seeking development to make its people live better. But the US cannot accept a rapidly rising China and feels upset. US politicians like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have been hysterically smearing and attacking China on the world stage like clowns, and pushing for an anti-China alliance in an attempt to stifle China's development. 

China has no intention to challenge US core interests. The US is to blame for worsening bilateral relations. China has made its greatest efforts to stabilize China-US relations, but it won't hesitate to strike back if its core interests are challenged or infringed on. 

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