China-US issues should not eclipse healthy relations

By Liu Chang
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Shanghai Daily, October 25, 2012
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Both U.S. presidential candidates vowed at their last debate encounter Monday night that they would press Beijing to "play by the rules" in shaping their bilateral ties. However, their definition of "rules of the road" is primarily pro-American.

For the records, China has been complying with the rules of international institutions, including the World Trade Organization. But it is not duty-bound to abide by the regulations designed by a certain country.

China is willing to work closely with its US partners in figuring out solutions that could best serve their mutual interests via candid talks. In fact, the growing cases of trade disputes between the two economies seem to show that the US is not prepared to work with China as equals.

Over the years, China's economic surge seems to have left the world's only super power stranded in a dilemma. For one thing, the US desires to cash in on China's economic expansion. On the other hand, Washington fears that a rising China could squeeze its traditional spheres of influence.

Such psychology has led to the US decision-makers' failure to understand China's emergence in an objective and rational manner. Accordingly, the US government has, from time to time, chosen to install speed bumps to rein in China's advancement by playing up trade disputes, meddling in maritime rows involving China and its neighbors, driving away Chinese investors on unwarranted grounds, and blaming Beijing's policies for US economic ailments.

The US government needs to be aware that the days when a clear-cut demarcation separating the interests of different countries could be drawn have long gone, and both sides have become highly enmeshed with each other. According to China's Ministry of Commerce, the China-US trade surged to a record of US$446.7 billion by the end of last year, and the two economies are now each other's second largest-trading partner.

China is seeking to radically restructure its economic growth model and turn to a greener economy, which undoubtedly would present the US enterprises with even more business opportunities.

Apart from that, the two countries are important partners in solving many of the world's most pressing challenges, including the global economic crisis, climate change, and nuclear proliferation.

The two countries do have their fair share of differences in such areas as currency policy, the situation in the Middle East, and human rights. But neither side should allow these disagreements to overshadow a healthy development of bilateral ties.

If Washington continues to view China's rise as being more of a threat than an opportunity, it is possible for their differences to spiral out of control at some point, leaving neither side unscathed in a breakdown of their relationship.

To prevent such a catastrophic scenario, the US should learn how to co-exist peacefully and responsibly with China, which includes paying due respect tor China's legitimate demands for growth, and its core interests. The two countries can work together to prove that they are capable of achieving win-win results.

The author is a writer at Xinhua new agency. Shanghai Daily condensed the article.

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