In dealing with the US, China should strive for the best outcome, but also prepare for the worst consequences: PLA Navy rear admiral
Published: Dec 23, 2023 03:13 PM
Yang Yi, Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy rear admiral

Yang Yi, Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy rear admiral. Photo: Chen Tao/GT

China advocates peaceful development, while the Western powers, led by the US, believe China will inevitably follow the path of previous major powers in seeking hegemony. This fundamental difference in perspective creates a significant contradiction between the two sides, Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy rear admiral Yang Yi said at the Global Times Annual Conference 2024. He warned that China should strive for the best outcome, but also prepare for the worst consequences by developing plans and building up its own strength.

Among the various challenges and problems we face right now, the China-US relationship is the largest one. The recent meeting between the two heads of state in San Francisco has provided confidence in the strategic stability of bilateral relations, Yang said. However, he noted that this confidence alone cannot solve the decisive contradictions between the two countries.

Yang said that judging from the current global situation and the challenges China faces, there are several areas of particular concern, including the Taiwan question. "Given China's resolute attitude on the Taiwan question and repeated emphasis that the Taiwan question is our red line, bottom line, and core interest, we have made it clear that there will be consequences if anyone tries to challenge us."

The PLA's resolution and strength should not be underestimated. Therefore, in the context of this situation, coupled with the conflicts between Russia and Ukraine, and between Israel and Palestine, the US-led Western camp is cautious about taking bold actions on the Taiwan question, and have shifted their focus to the South China Sea, Yang remarked.

The South China Sea has become a new hotspot, especially when the West uses the Philippines as a pawn to continually provoke China. In the face of this problem, we must adopt the right strategy and increase our strength, Yang said.

In terms of strength, various aspects surrounding the China-US relationship have undergone changes. In the past few years, the economic and trade relationship was the ballast stone, but now it has become collateral, said Yang.

He said that when he led the military security strategic dialogue group to visit the US in 2003, he emphasized that the military relationship between China and the US was the barometer of the bilateral relationship. 

Ironically, now the military relationship between China and the US has changed to an insurance tether that ensures large-scale military conflicts are avoided, Yang said. 

Yang praised the recent video meeting between Liu Zhenli, a Central Military Commission (CMC) member and the chief of the CMC's Joint Staff Department, and General Charles Q. Brown, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US as a good example.

China strives for stability, but is not afraid of troubles. China must be prepared, and power preparation is very important. One can only better protect national interests once equipped with a strong and powerful force, Yang noted. 

Chinese modernization is the essence of the Report to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. China offers an alternative path for people in non-Western countries. However, it is important to note that the path to advance Chinese modernization is not smooth, and there are internal issues such as the country's population and economy, as well as other challenges. The main external challenge comes from the US, and the China-US rivalry is the main contradiction influencing the current situation, Jin Canrong, associate dean of the School of International Studies at the Renmin University of China, said at the conference. 

Jin said in the face of pressure from the US, as long as China maintains domestic development and stability, it can handle the situation well.