China must focus on building its own strengths
Published: Apr 26, 2023 08:04 PM
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden (left) and US President Donald Trump. Photo: Xinhua

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden (left) and US President Donald Trump. Photo: Xinhua

Joe Biden and Donald Trump will have a high chance of confronting each other again, and some countries will be nervous, either fearing about or looking forward to another change in the White House. But China should be the "most calm" one, because no matter who the next US president is, the US' strategic suppression of China will continue and spiral upward.

The Financial Times published an article entitled "US-China relations have entered a frightening new era." This may not be nonsense. The Chinese people need to be prepared to deal with a more manic US and discard any illusion. The situation today is different from that in the 1950s and 1960s, when the US also blockaded us, China and the US fought against each other during the Korean War and had an implicit contest in Vietnam. But at that time, China played a supporting role on the global strategic stage. Even if it stood at the forefront of the wave, it also had room to maneuver. "Ping-Pong Diplomacy" brought about a turnaround in China-US relations. Today the US sees China as its No.1 strategic rival, and 10 more "Ping-Pong Diplomacy" won't help.

Looking at the old, clumsy, bigoted faces from Biden to Trump, we need to know that China can only play a beautiful curveball that will amaze the whole world by using all the wisdom and endurance that the entire history of civilization has given us, keeping our composure and sobriety, which the US does not have. One by one, we dismantled the US' attack, sending it crashing into the net, or getting knocked off the ground time after time.

This first requires us to continuously increase China's key strengths, especially in stepping up the construction of a strong military force, which will greatly enhance China's strategic deterrence against the US and its allies, and ensure that they dare not use military force to exert pressure on China. Here, I would like to emphasize again that the most important thing is to increase the scale of nuclear arsenal from hundreds to thousands. After achieving this goal, the US will never dare to challenge China's core interests militarily.

On April 19, the US lawmakers carried out a war-game "conflict" with China. It may because China's nuclear warheads are far from sufficient, otherwise, such a war game exercise will only be seen as ridiculous and worthless by the Americans themselves. The US must be completely deprived of the resources it can use to militarily blackmail China, which will also accordingly change the attitude of Japan, Australia and other countries on the Taiwan question. The nuclear warheads in China must be so numerous that those countries will be convinced that a full-scale war with China would be equal to strategic suicide and that the cards to victory in the Western Pacific will always be in China's hands.

When China possesses an overwhelming nuclear deterrent in the Western Pacific, how to deal with the Taiwan question will truly become China's internal affair in a military sense.

Based on reliable national security in the military field, China also needs to build up a national security of development, which is the deep logic of the competition with the US and the substantial connotation of China's national security.

It is in China's interest to deter the US, but not in turn to promote "decoupling" from the US. China should take advantage of the US' uncertainty in its economic relations with China to maintain bilateral trade and cooperation in all areas. The "decoupling" of the US and China will inevitably affect China's relations with the West, because the US will pressure Europe, Japan and South Korea to stay away from China. It is notable that there are more resources and tools available to maintain US-China economic ties, than to break them. Also, it is entirely possible to create a situation where only a small part is decoupled, and even that small part can be "coupled" through various channels.

China needs to "endure" this period of stalemate. This cannot be a waste of time. To "endure" means that we can achieve sustained growth in the process of catching up with the US. China must become more powerful every year as it endures, the throat-cutting areas by the US have to be gradually narrowed, and the confidence and fighting spirit of the Chinese people have to become stronger and stronger. In that case, we are on a road that is not smooth, but where victory is approaching and can finally be expected. If the process of competing with the US leads to a severe weakening or even collapse of China's development, then the strategic trend will be reversed, pointing to the overall shrinkage of China's development. That is what the American political elites are trying so hard to shape.

Therefore, on the one hand, we must focus on the urgent matter of China's national security and rule out the extreme possibility of being threatened. On the other hand, it is necessary to build a strong driving force for China's socialist market economy to continue to rise to the next level in the next decade or even decades. The foundation of this driving force is the inherent vitality of Chinese society that is constantly being shaped and stimulated. It is the basic code of the socialist market economy to promote the general freedom of grassroots society under the leadership of the Party and the relaxed environment for doing practical things and seeking development, and to eliminate the consumption of bureaucratic formalism on the high-speed functioning of Chinese society. Our society has shown advantages in unity and cohesion, but these alone are not enough to win the long-term competition. The exploration enthusiasm and creativity of the grassroots society are the decisive "last mile." The quality of "last mile" will profoundly impact the time and final result of our victory in the strategic game with the US.

In the future, we can watch the US election as a pastime of watching "monkey tricks." China's attention needs to be put on its own strategic direction as well as on the "last mile" in the direction where thousands of rivers converge.

The author is a commentator with the Global Times. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn