New con­fig­u­ra­tion in re­la­tions with US

China Daily (USA) - - VIEWS -

China-US re­la­tions have reached a his­toric point, char­ac­ter­ized by new dy­nam­ics in their in­ter­ac­tions at the strate­gic level. As the two largest economies, the United States and China boast a com­bined GDP that ac­counts for more than one-third of world’s to­tal. And as each other’s big­gest trad­ing part­ner, they had a trade vol­ume of more than $550 bil­lion in 2015.

Bi­lat­eral in­vest­ment, too, con­tin­ues to grow. In 2015, the ac­cu­mu­la­tive in­vest­ment from theUS to China was worth $77.47 bil­lion in ac­tual terms, while Chi­nese in­vest­ment in theUS reached $46.6 bil­lion in cu­mu­la­tive terms, mak­ing it the fourth-largest des­ti­na­tion for Chi­nese FDI.

Chi­ne­seMin­is­ter of Com­merce GaoHucheng in­di­cated in a signed ar­ti­cle in­USA To­day that in the next decade, the China-US trade vol­ume could quadru­ple. Be­sides, China is the largest holder ofUS Trea­sury bonds, which add up to $1.2 tril­lion.

It is ap­par­ent that China’s peace­ful rise has driven China-US re­la­tions to new heights, with ri­valry, com­pe­ti­tion and their co­op­er­a­tive part­ner­ship grow­ing in tan­dem. This evolv­ing con­fig­u­ra­tion of con­flict­ing di­men­sions will be a ma­jor fea­ture of the bi­lat­eral equa­tion.

The prin­ci­ple of “seek­ing com­mon ground and shelv­ing dif­fer­ences”, as en­shrined in the Shang­hai Com­mu­niqué, may be the rule to main­tain over­all sta­bil­ity in bi­lat­eral ties, but in prac­tice, the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the rule hinges on how well the two lead­er­ships and the for­eign pol­icy de­part­ments com­mu­ni­cate and un­der­stand each other, and re­quires diplo­matic fi­nesse to deal with burn­ing is­sues.

China-US re­la­tions to­day have global im­pli­ca­tions. “Seek­ing com­mon ground and shelv­ing dif­fer­ences” re­mains rel­e­vant, but the two sides must es­tab­lish bet­ter com­mu­ni­ca­tion mech­a­nisms to re­flect the new­con­fig­u­ra­tion of their re­la­tion­ship to tran­scend their dif­fer­ences. The China-US Strate­gic and Eco­nomic Di­a­logue meets those re­quire­ments.

Pro­mo­tion of the con­cept of a “new­type of ma­jor coun­try re­la­tion­ship” is an­other sig­nif­i­cant step by China to­ward build­ing a proper Sino-US com­mu­ni­ca­tion mech­a­nism, for it aims to ad­vance China’s ma­jor for­eign pol­icy ob­jec­tives while show­ing its sin­cer­ity in open­ing a newchap­ter in China-US re­la­tions. More im­por­tant, it shows China ad­heres to peace­ful de­vel­op­ment and is op­posed to one-up­man­ship and fa­vors unity with­out uni­for­mity.

China and theUS have in­creas­ingly con­verg­ing in­ter­ests, which re­quire a non-con­fronta­tional pol­icy for the ben­e­fit of both coun­tries. Also, the two coun­tries must work to­gether to ad­dress

the chal­lenges fac­ing the world. All these de­vel­op­ments will fos­ter a “new­type of ma­jor coun­try re­la­tion­ship” fea­tur­ing peace­ful co-ex­is­tence.

The US, how­ever, has its own ideas; it uses dif­fer­ent nar­ra­tives for con­cepts, pur­sues dif­fer­ent strate­gic goals and is guided by a dif­fer­ent for­eign pol­icy. So China and the US have to take mea­sures to pro­mote mu­tual un­der­stand­ing.

The con­cept of a new type of ma­jor coun­try re­la­tion­ship has met with reser­va­tions in the US, with some US of­fi­cials say­ing they want to see more ac­tion than slo­gans. But China still be­lieves a “new type of ma­jor coun­try re­la­tion­ship” is a con­struc­tive con­cept that will take Sino-US re­la­tions for­ward. China’s con­vic­tion is rooted in its lead­er­ship’s ad­her­ence to the pre­vail­ing trend in in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions and its faith in the peace­ful de­vel­op­ment China has been pur­su­ing. The “pivot to Asia” strat­egy and a “new­type of ma­jor coun­try re­la­tion­ship” are two po­lit­i­cal and strate­gic vi­sions for restor­ing bal­ance in the re­gion. TheUS wants to pre­serve its dom­i­nant sta­tus in the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion, while China seeks to build a more equal re­la­tion­ship. In re­cent years, many in­ci­dents, in­clud­ing the South China Sea is­sue and the de­ploy­ment of the US’ Ter­mi­nalHigh Al­ti­tude Air De­fense anti-mis­sile sys­tem in the Repub­lic of Korea, have fu­elled ten­sions be­tween China and the US. These are the re­sult of the friction be­tween two vi­sions. These changes are a newtwist in the wider Chi­naUS re­la­tions. While we turn to his­tory for guid­ance, it is vi­tal that we come up with new ap­proaches to meet the newchal­lenges stem­ming from the new­con­fig­u­ra­tion in bi­lat­eral ties, and seek con­sen­sus-based so­lu­tions. So we must al­low these ef­forts to run their due course.

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