Foreign Policy

The U.S.-China Strategic Dialogue, the seventh of its kind, will take place soon amidst an increasing rivalry between the two countries. Ensuring stable peace and continued prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region will require both countries to replace their self-serving interpretations of the other’s strategic intentions with more sober assessments.

Win-win cooperation has replaced wars and national self-interest, and that approach will make Asia economically stronger and benefit the entire globe.

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While Washington has mixed feelings toward China’s rising international status, many American scholars see no convincing reasons for the United States not to support or participate in China’s initiatives like the modern Silk Road and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. That’s a good omen for the concept of “a new type of major country relations,” as proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping, to avoid confrontation between big powers and to blaze a new trail of mutually beneficial cooperation.

China’s modernization and international engagement reflect a trend for our times, and serve the common interests of the world. To achieve common prosperity for all, China seeks a new system based on cooperation, not confrontation.

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With good reason, Chinese leaders wonder whether the pivot to Asia is the initial stage of a containment policy directed against their country. Similarly, U.S. officials are likely to become concerned about China’s attention and investment in Latin America, not helped by suspicions about China’s intentions in the South China Sea.

The recently announced Chinese defense white paper focusing on China’s commitment to strengthen its growing naval power, along with bellicose remarks by Chinese and American officials regarding events in the South China Sea, have deepened tensions between Washington and Beijing. The ongoing dispute threatens to drive U.S.-China relations permanently in a far more adversarial, zero-sum direction and destabilize the region.

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Mutual trust is essential for candid exchanges and sincere collaboration. This is an indispensable precondition for China and the U.S. to formulate a new-type major-country relationship and take advantage of historical opportunities such as President Xi’s upcoming U.S. visit.

The ongoing series of high-level meetings show that, despite pressures from third-party players, Beijing and Washington value a cooperative relationship and mutual understanding that should continue to strengthen.

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As China’s economy continues to grow, managing differences is key to a new model of Sino-US relations. Beijing will uphold its sovereignty, security and development interests, and will assume a bigger role in regional and global affairs. President Xi’s upcoming visit is another opportunity for Americans to understand that China’s actions are not targeted at the US and its allies.

The Secretary of State deepened the understanding between two countries at this critical time, but the chatter around the visit reminds both countries that consensus is easy to reach but hard to actualize. Upcoming high-level meetings, including President Xijping’s September State visit to Washington, provide opportunities to expand that critical understanding.

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The maritime issue casts a dark shadow on the cooperation between the two countries in the wake of tenser contests in the South China Sea. It is time to prevent this difference from dominating the bilateral relationship.

While the US president is the architect of foreign policy, its development is both a top-down and bottom-up process. As the 2016 election approaches, it’s important to listen to those at operational levels within the government and scholars in academic circles, to see how the public consensus about the US-China relationship is evolving.

Policymakers in the United States, China, and other Asian powers must choose whether to deal forthrightly and sensibly with the changing regional power distribution or avoid the hard decisions that China’s rise poses until the situation grows ever more polarized and dangerous.

Fu Ying

Below is a full speech by Fu Ying, China’s NPC Chairwoman of Foreign Affairs Committee, at the University of Chicago on May 19. She talked about China’s growth and its experience with the evolving world order. It is a great honor for me to address you today. As the renowned architect Frank (Lloyd) Wright said, […]

President Xi Jinping’s visit has deepened China-Russia strategic mutual trust. That improves Eurasian cooperation and boosts the preservation and reform of the post-war international order, making it fairer and more just.

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