China, US should work out square deal

Global Times US Edition - - EDITORIAL -

China and the US are ap­par­ently mov­ing to restart trade ne­go­ti­a­tions. What achieve­ments can be made dur­ing the meet­ing be­tween their lead­ers at the G20 sum­mit in Japan next week? Will high-level talks re­sume and reach a fi­nal deal? The an­swers de­pend on whether both sides, es­pe­cially the US, have the good­will to reach a fair agree­ment through equal ne­go­ti­a­tions.

Bei­jing and Wash­ing­ton hold dif­fer­ent opin­ions on what a fair deal is based on their own in­ter­ests. But they can still find a clue on how to bridge mu­tual un­der­stand­ing.

First, the in­ter­ests of both sides should be re­cip­ro­cal, which means the deal should not be win­ner-takes-all. The deal must be a win-win agree­ment so that one party can­not ex­ploit its in­ter­ests at the cost of the other.

Sec­ond, the two sides should share equal costs. Third, the terms of the deal should be on an equal foot­ing. The state­ment should not be like one party is ex­ert­ing pres­sure and the other is forced to ac­cept the con­di­tions. Such a deal will not help China and the US set up long-term co­op­er­a­tion based on equal­ity.

The two coun­tries need to make ef­forts if they want to reach a deal. They should en­hance strate­gic com­mu­ni­ca­tion and try their best to ease strate­gic mis­trust of the other side. The way that the US launched the trade war against China and its ex­treme mea­sures such as the abrupt crack­down on Chinese en­ter­prises in­clud­ing Huawei, plus its tech­no­log­i­cal de­cou­pling with China, have all left the impression on Chinese so­ci­ety that the US is not sim­ply en­gaged in a trade war with China but is ac­tu­ally launch­ing all-out con­tain­ment with Cold War char­ac­ter­is­tics.

The US, on the other hand, de­liv­ers a great deal of pro­pa­ganda about China steal­ing US tech­nol­ogy and seek­ing to re­place US hege­mony. The two sides should con­duct in-depth com­mu­ni­ca­tion over fun­da­men­tal is­sues em­bed­ded in bi­lat­eral re­la­tions, which will lay the po­lit­i­cal foun­da­tion for reach­ing a deal. The US is im­pos­ing max­i­mum pres­sure on China, mak­ing the Chinese peo­ple be­lieve that once China com­pro­mises, there will be no end to it. More and more Chinese sup­port a tough re­sponse to the US and re­shap­ing US un­der­stand­ing of China through a long-last­ing and consuming con­fronta­tion.

Both China and the US are coun­tries with strength and are ca­pa­ble of bear­ing a trade war. But they will lose the mar­ket of the other side and suf­fer losses. As prod­ucts from other coun­tries will have bet­ter ac­cess to the Chinese and US mar­kets, the global in­dus­trial chain will face a ma­jor read­just­ment.

From a long-term per­spec­tive, China and the US will not per­sist with con­fronta­tional trade poli­cies. China’s stance has been con­sis­tent: It does not want a trade war, but it is not afraid of one and it will fight one if nec­es­sary. It is hoped that af­ter twists and turns in the past more than one year, the US can have an ob­jec­tive and com­plete un­der­stand­ing of China’s stance.

China does not want the trade war to be­come the norm in China-us re­la­tions and hopes to end it as soon as pos­si­ble so that bi­lat­eral ties can be back on the right track. Mean­while, given the un­sta­ble US at­ti­tude, China is pre­pared for any worse-case sce­nar­ios.

Il­lus­tra­tion: Liu RUI/GT

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