No winners in any new Cold War

0 CommentsPrint E-mail Global Times, January 21, 2011
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Editor's Notes: Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to the US is being followed eagerly by both the US and Chinese media. What results will come from the visit? What elements are required for the stability of Sino-US relations? And what are the variables in the future? Global Times, in cooperation with the Chahar Institute, invited Ding Gang (Ding), senior editor of the People's Daily, Zhang Weiwei (Zhang), senior research fellow of the Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations, Tang Xiaosong (Tang), director of the Foreign Affairs Department of Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, Hong Zhaohui (Hong), a history professor at Purdue University, Pang Zhongying (Pang), a professor at the School of International Studies at the Renmin University of China, and Zhao Kejin (Zhao), deputy director of the Sino-US Research Center, Tsinghua University, to discuss these issues.

Ding: Before his visit to the US, Hu accepted questions from the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post and mentioned that both China and the US "should abandon the zero-sum Cold War mentality." This demonstrates Chinese leaders' sincerity and resolution not to return to the Cold War era. And it is also a declaration to those who intend to obtain benefits through propagating Cold War thinking.

The history of Sino-US relations has fully demonstrated that the world and the Asia-Pacific region has enough capacity to accommodate China-US cooperation and common development. One fact is the most convincing, from 2001 to 2009, China's GDP developed from one-tenth to one-third that of the US.

At the same time, the US also gained tremendous benefits from China's development. If Sino-US relations expect more win-win achievements, the influence of the Cold War mentality should be curbed. Therefore, abandoning zero-sum thinking is not only a summary of history and reality, but also a warning to the future.

Zhang: Many observers in Europe have noted the "zero-sum game" interview with Hu. It tells about the actual situation of China and the US and also represents Chinese leaders' thinking about the Sino-US future.

Both countries are great powers. And they are highly dependent on each other in many aspects, especially economic endeavor. Why this Sino-US summit calls for special attention is that the world has more clearly witnessed the establishment of China's great power status.

Tang: According to the US-Soviet Cold War experience, the Cold War depends on two things: strength and intention.

Although the US economy is currently recovering from recession, it still has great military strength. Therefore, it has the eligibility for a Cold War. But it is difficult to tell how long the basis of a Cold War can last. After all, military power is based on economy.

For China, do we already have the power to match the US? The answer is no. China's current economy seems strong, but military force may not be the same case. Moreover, there is still no definite conclusion of China's economic strength. It is only the problems of the US that highlights the "unrealistic strength" of the Chinese economy.

In contrast to the Cold War between the US and the then-Soviet Union, currently both China and the US depend on each other to solve their own predicaments.

In the summer of 2010, I attended an event at the Johns Hopkins University's SAIS center in Washington. An US official mentioned during his speech that the reason why US carriers can still operate is that the US is borrowing money from China to pay for fuel for the carriers. In China's case, just think about what would happen if the US closed the door to Chinese imports. Therefore, here comes the paradox of Cold War: Do you want a new Cold War? Then let both sides suffer.

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