The United States should take into account China's legitimate national security concerns in talks aimed at resolving the aircraft collision in the South China Sea, otherwise the negotiations would fail, said a by-lined article published by the International Herald Tribune on Tuesday.
The article, contributed by two Chinese research fellows at the East-West Center in Honolulu, warned that if the American side emphasizes only how China should treat the US "routine" reconnaissance flights while ignoring China's security interests, the bilateral talks, which are to start on Wednesday in Beijing, would get nowhere.
"Spying so close to Chinese territory and sharing that intelligence with Taiwan, Japan and others are provocative and aggressive acts that will bring strong reactions from China," the article said.
The next round of negotiations on the collision incident is to take place after China released 24 crew members of the US spy plane on April 11 following Washington said "very sorry" for the loss of Chinese pilot Wang Wei as well as for entering Chinese airspace without advance clearance.
The article said that the collision and its aftermath underscore the need for better management of the relationship and for rapid action in establishing channels and codes of conduct to ensure against similar crises in the future.
"Greater efforts must be made to nurture positive, mutual understanding of cultural, social and political differences if the two sides are to improve communication," said the article, entitled "Common Long-term Interests Call for Shared Vision."
To create some degree of strategic assurance, the article said, the two countries need a "clear vision on the general direction in which their relationship should move."
Since the 21st century will witness unprecedented social, cultural and economic integration in the world, peaceful cooperation is in the long-term common interest of both countries, the article said.
"Based on this realization, the 'stable and healthy relationship' promoted by China or the 'constructive good relationship' recently mentioned by Mr. Bush can be starting points for a long-term vision of relations," the article said.
The Chinese-US relationship has survived many major crises in the past decade because of the strong economic, social and cultural ties and the long-term shared interests among the people and businesses of the two countries, the article said.
The article urged the Bush administration to throw away the concept of "strategic competitor" related to China, because "it is neither realistic nor desirable."
"While economic competition is to be expected, political and military competition is negative and dangerous, as evidenced between the former Soviet Union and the United States during the Cold War," it added.
The article pointed out that the April 1 air collision raises questions about how much the United States has to gain by its "routine" and provocative spying on China, and how necessary it is.
"The decade-long practice of surveillance close to China's territory is premised on China being an enemy target. Thus Beijing has grounds to ask Washington to stop or change its patterns of surveillance," it said.
"This incident is a wake-up call for both countries to realize that their true long-term interests are neither in confrontation nor in Cold War mentality, but in mutual understanding and peaceful cooperation," the article said.
(People's Daily 04/18/2001)