Philosophy, culture and civilization: key for China-US dialogue

By Wang Fan
0 CommentsPrint E-mail, May 25, 2010
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The second round of the China-US Strategic & Economic Dialogue opened on May 24, 2010. The two countries should focus on philosophy, culture and civilization.

China-US relations should not only stay on the operational level, but share a vision for the common interest and stability of the international society. Since Mao ruled China, the starting point between the two countries' relationship was very high. During the first meeting between Mao and Nixon, the two state heads talked a lot about philosophy, which was rare in diplomatic history.

This tradition has sustained throughout the normalization of China-US relations. Although there are more than 60 official channels of communication between China and the U.S., strategic dialogue should go beyond the material level.

In addition to philosophy, the two parties should also talk about culture and civilization. The U.S. knows too little about Chinese culture and China does not pay much attention to the problem. If China and the U.S. want to have better cooperation and mutual trust, they should have a better understanding of each other.

China's harmonious world strategy has deep historical and cultural roots and it's too hard for those who do not know anything about Chinese history to understand. The Chinese have tried to learn as much as possible about Western civilizations since the adoption of the reform and opening-up policy. Now it's time for China and the world to learn the wisdom of Oriental civilizations.

Current China-US relations are very complicated. Competition and cooperation coexist. Interdependency between the two countries is getting deeper, but asymmetry is still present. To make the relationship more stable and equal, competition and cooperation should be balanced and asymmetry reduced. The two parties should completely abolish the dual-opposition mindset they bring to the table in their relationship.

In peacetime, the US strategy toward China is like a multiple-choice question. The core of its strategy is to coordinate choices; if this fails, mutual constraints between these choices will hinder the realization of the US's ultimate aim.

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