Finding a better way for China, US to coexist
Published: Nov 15, 2023 07:59 PM
China-US Photo: VCG

China-US Photo: VCG

The world looks toward the meeting in San Francisco between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden with high anticipations. The bilateral relations between China and the US have a direct bearing on almost everything in the world today. 

We are seeing a turning point in China-US ties. Whether the relations will move toward normalization and improvement or toward further deterioration will have a significant impact on global peace and development.

It is the US that has invited the Chinese head of state to not only participate in the APEC summit, but also have this meeting with President Biden. This demonstrates that despite their differences, if both sides work together, they can achieve desirable results. 

China-US relations are of utmost importance. Even if some assume that it is heading toward a dead end, and there is no point for any optimism, we still need to exhibit the highest level of optimism we can muster. Giving up China-US relations means giving up the future of mankind. Therefore, despite the US government's capriciousness over the past few years, where their words and actions often differ, we still strive to make maximum efforts to convince them that there is a better way. There are possibilities for cooperation between China and the US, and we must guide Washington toward a positive direction, rather than allowing the US to veer dangerously off course.

Based on this, we need to manage the risks and differences and maximize the potential benefits for the Chinese people and the American people. The two countries need to solve whatever problems arise in peaceful ways and must never try to impose one's will on the other. If China and the US can achieve such a level of relationship, they will really see each other as a potential partner, rather than a potential enemy. Then the world we leave for our children will be a more peaceful and safer place.

The most important thing between China and the US is to proclaim to the whole world the inevitability of peace between the two countries. We need to convince ourselves, as well as the rest of the world, that war should not be an option between China and the US. 

Moreover, many things can be done to benefit both China and the US. Several key issues need to be addressed. First, without China and the US taking actions in the same direction, mankind will fail to achieve its goal of containing the impact of climate change. Second, in terms of the development of AI, China and the US really need to think about how they can cooperate with each other rather than compete against each other. Third, regarding the Russia-Ukraine war and the Israel-Palestine conflict, if China and the US can align their stances, it will be much easier to achieve a settlement through negotiation and diplomacy. 

Fundamentally, I hope China and the US, through the meeting in San Francisco, can narrow their differences and recognize the importance of peace and stability. And I hope the summit meeting in San Francisco will lead to a realization, if not consensus, that China and the US should not view each other as enemies or rivals. The world is big enough to accommodate both China and the US in a cooperative way, rather than trying to harm one another.

Now, the meeting means the top leaders in China and the US have the opportunity to make the right decisions. China-US relations can be viewed in a positive light, as Governor of California Gavin Newsom has declared to the whole world, "the more successful China is, the more successful we all will be." If this young, aspiring, and successful US politician can reach this conclusion, why can't everyone else? 

I'm not completely pessimistic about China-US relations. I still believe there are people in Washington with decency, dignity and enough intelligence, to see China for what it truly is. I'm also forcing myself to be optimistic about the medium-term and long-term prospects of China-US relations. I think there will come a time when China and the US can get along with each other despite their differences, with a prevailing trend of live and let live between the two countries. Let's keep the hope alive, and never surrender. 

The author is a chair professor at Soochow University and Vice President of the Center for China and Globalization. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn