Facing the future
Forum for co-development between China and the US held in Shanghai
Aforum was held on December 12 to discuss peaceful co-development between China and the US in the new era in Shanghai. Organized by the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (SIIS) and Shanghai People’s Publishing House (SPPH), the forum also celebrated the publishing of the Chinese version of the book Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap? Scholars from China and the US, publishing house representative and local media attended the forum.
“China-US relations are one of the most important bilateral relations in the world. I hope this event can help expand cooperation, face the future and manage risks,” said Fan Weiwen, the deputy chief editor of SPPH, which is the publisher of the Chinese version.
Chen Dongxiao, president of SIIS, believes that whether China and the US can work together to seek peaceful co-development will be of primary importance for their bilateral relationship as well as future stability.
“We are very proud that we produced this opportunity to have this dialogue to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the formal China and US diplomatic relationship,” Chen added. Chen also pointed out that scholars and the media should think whether China and the US have already jumped into the Thucydides’s trap? If that’s the case, how can we jump out of the trap?
During the forum, Graham Allison, the Douglas Dillon Professor of Government at Harvard University, gave a keynote speech referencing his latest book, Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap? In Allison’s view, China is a rising and risen power and the impact of it is that as China realizes its own dream to “make China great again,” it is displacing the US from its accustomed position at the top of every pecking order.
Allison claims that war between China and the US is not inevitable. “The reason why I visited here is to look for ideas about how to escape Thucydides’s trap and how we can find a way to live with it,” Allison said.
In his book, Allison looks at 500 years of history, finding 16 cases of competition between a rising power and a ruling power, but there was no war in four of these cases. After analyzing relations between major powers in the 21st century, he put forward 12 clues to escape Thucydides’s trap.
When the Global Times reporter cited the news that Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was arrested by Canadian authorities and asked whether this case shows China and the US have already jumped into the trap and, if so, how both countries can jump out of the trap, Allison replied that the Huawei case is an extremely interesting example, saying Huawei is the Chinese champion in telecommunications and in the internet equipment space and in particular in the 5G. Allison used the word “bet” to say that “I believe that things will get worse before they get worse. That’s not my desire but my prediction.”
“One of the vital national interests of the US and China that we share is that we achieve only in cooperation with the other for survival. If we have a war, we both die,” Allison said, adding that the US and China should not simply talk about trade or tariffs but about the whole relationship.
Chen Dingding, a professor at the School of International Relations of Jinan University and a translator of the Chinese version of Allison’s book, agreed, saying “effective communication is very important.”
Below from left: Chen Dongxiao, president of Shanghai Institutes for International Studies; Graham Allison, the Douglas DillonProfessor of Government at Harvard University;Allison’s book, the Chinese version