What US em­bassy’s moon­cake gift means

Global Times US Edition - - FORUM -

Ire­ceived a spe­cial gift for the Mid-au­tumn Festival this year: three boxes of moon­cakes from the US Em­bassy in China. I shared the de­li­cious dessert with my col­leagues, and I ap­pre­ci­ated the gen­eros­ity of the se­nior US diplo­mat who sent me the gift. Over the past few months, we used to have heated ar­gu­ments, but it was what that made us friends.

Our ar­gu­ment started this spring when the US em­bassy can­celled my visa to the US with­out giv­ing an ex­pla­na­tion. I had paid tens of vis­its to the US, had been to more than 20 US states and have been re­spon­si­ble for a ma­jor project on China-us peo­ple-to-peo­ple ex­changes. But none of this jus­ti­fies the can­cel­la­tion of my visa.

In the past year, the US abruptly can­celed visas of at least 30 Chi­nese schol­ars who ac­tively en­gage in China-us aca­demic ex­changes. The New York Times and many other US media re­ported this in de­tail in April, in­ter­pret­ing it as a China-us aca­demic war, mean­ing that the two gov­ern­ments attack each other by can­celling ac­tive schol­ars’ visas.

I dis­agree with such an in­ter­pre­ta­tion. Dur­ing the half year I was blocked from vis­it­ing the US, I pro­posed many times, at in­ter­nal con­sul­ta­tions and in pub­lic ar­ti­cles, that China should not cancel US schol­ars’ visas to China. On the con­trary, China should make

it eas­ier for US schol­ars to visit the coun­try. Of course, on many oc­ca­sions, I also crit­i­cize the Don­ald Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s China pol­icy and the US em­bassy’s can­celling my visa.

My personal efforts worked. Many US diplo­mats in Bei­jing came to visit me. We also or­ga­nized in­ter­nal sem­i­nars and in­vited sev­eral well-known Chi­nese schol­ars to have face-to-face com­mu­ni­ca­tion with US diplo­mats. We had dif­fer­ent opin­ions and sought to de­fend our own na­tional in­ter­ests. But we did not have a tiff. In­stead, we all ex­pected the next con­ver­sa­tion.

It is bet­ter to have com­mu­ni­ca­tion than not. This is the con­sen­sus and bot­tom line of both sides. It re­flects the new changes in China-us relations in the new era.

I agree with for­mer US sec­re­tary of state Henry Kissinger, who once said that “China-us relations will never re­turn to where they were.” China and the US have been ma­jor global pow­ers whose strength matches. Both coun­tries have their own ad­van­tages. The US is stronger, but China is not weak.

I am more op­ti­mistic than Kissinger. I be­lieve that Chin­aus relations will never de­grade into a state of the Cold War. There are US hawks who try to launch a new Cold War on China, but the Chi­nese gen­er­ally do not want to fight a new Cold War with the US. Nei­ther is the de­cou­pling pos­si­ble. There are too many in­ter­ests and peo­ple that can­not be sep­a­rated. President Trump’s trade war against China and all at­tempts to sup­press China are com­pletely wrong. But he has also acted in a re­strained matter.

An im­por­tant piece of ev­i­dence is that although Trump has been crit­i­ciz­ing China, he has also been stress­ing that President Xi Jin­ping is a “great leader” and a “friend.” Trump also treats Chi­nese trade ne­go­ti­at­ing teams po­litely. I be­lieve that Trump must have left some lee­way for his fam­ily to plan for the Trump Or­ga­ni­za­tion’s busi­ness in China af­ter his pres­i­dency.

To deal with such a US president, China will not give up de­fend­ing its core in­ter­ests. Un­like the past, a strong China is bet­ter at fight­ing, and more dar­ing to fight. Mean­while, China is bet­ter at co­op­er­a­tion and more dar­ing to co­op­er­ate.

China-us relations should not be focused too much on trade dis­putes.

In fact, the two coun­tries still have much to co­op­er­ate on the North Korea nuclear issue and man­age­ment of the fen­tanyl issue. China and the US hold joint mil­i­tary ex­er­cises in re­cent years.

There are over 300 flights be­tween China and the US ev­ery week and we do not see a sin­gle one be­ing can­celled. Thus, if there are dis­putes, so be it. Co­op­er­a­tion should con­tinue.

In­deed, amid fraught China-us relations, the co­ex­is­tence of com­pe­ti­tion and co­op­er­a­tion will be nor­mal in the fu­ture. Ev­ery­one has the responsibi­lity to pre­vent risks from ag­gra­vat­ing.

Think­ing of this, I have de­cided to re­turn a Mid-au­tumn Festival gift to the se­nior US diplo­mat: my new book Great Power’s Long March Road. The book nar­rates the prepa­ra­tions and dif­fi­cul­ties of the rise of China. It should help Amer­i­cans bet­ter un­der­stand China in the new era. The author is pro­fes­sor and ex­ec­u­tive dean of Chongyang In­sti­tute for Fi­nan­cial Stud­ies, at Ren­min Univer­sity of China and ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of Chin­aus Peo­ple-to-peo­ple Ex­change Re­search Cen­ter. His new book was launched re­cently. wang­[email protected]

Il­lus­tra­tion: Liu RUI/GT

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