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Foreign Policy

China Still Holds Out Good Faith and Sincerity

Jun 21, 2019
  • Wang Fan

    Vice President, China Foreign Affairs University

Chinese President Xi Jinping shared his views on the ongoing China-US trade friction when attending the St Petersburg International Economic Forum held on 7 June.

President Xi put current China-US trade relations in the context of globalization, and sent a message of friendship and good faith consultation to avoid losses for either country. It is imperative that US politicians remain rational and level-headed.

A few points merit our special attention regarding China-US trade tensions.

First, in the wake of the trade tensions provoked by the US, China has demonstrated its sincerity and commitment to resolve the two sides’ differences, in line with China’s long-term stance as the defender and promoter of Sino-US relations, as evidenced in China’s handling of the US bombing of the Chinese embassy in Yugoslavia in 1999 and the airplane collision incident of 2001. Invariably, China’s patience and will to compromise and accommodate US concerns saved the day in times of challenging difficulty for Sino-US relations, and thus kept bilateral ties on an even keel. Even in extreme circumstances such as the 9/11 attack against the US and the 2008 financial crisis, China lent a helping hand and never resorted to rubbing salt in the wound. China’s commitment to keep relations on the right track is unmistakable and laudable.

Second, the US must adapt itself to engaging with China on an equal footing. China is no longer the weak republic mired in mass poverty of decades ago. Like any country, it is entitled to global standing and respect commensurate with its strength, and it stands ready to share the benefits of development with the global community, including the US. China has benefited from globalization, and will commit to the continued progress of globalization and the international order. The US must come to terms with a stronger China, and recognize the fact that China will only contribute to safeguarding the order and growth of the global economy.

Third, China’s efforts to ensure that Sino-US relations stay on the right track should by no means be misconstrued as a sign of weakness. Understandably, China could not be comfortable nor happy with the maximum pressure strategy taken by the US. Yet China has always kept the big picture in mind, and acted in the interest of both countries’ people and the overall stability of bilateral ties. China has stood firm through the twists of fate — and in no event, whether China is weak or strong as a nation, would it compromise on issues concerning core principles and interests. Nor will it allow anyone to impose such an outcome on itself. Given its history running back thousands of years, China tends to think and strategize in the long term — meanwhile, the US is tempted to think in terms of the competition of power politics.

China is a responsible power with a broad and long-term vision. It acts in the interest of overall bilateral ties and in the interest of the two peoples. If China opts to pursue confrontational tactics, it will only end up dragging both sides down into the abyss, which is the last thing China wants to happen.

Fourth, no matter what the external pressure may be, China will adhere to its own path of development. In the meantime, China’s further opening up and self-improvement will benefit the world at large. Over the past few decades, China has served as the driving force behind world economic growth, and a pivotal contributor to economic globalization. Going forward, China will continue to deepen its reform in a way that contributes to the long-term prosperity and growth of human society as a whole, and facilitates a new industrial revolution in China with its own progress in terms of technological innovation and intellectual property rights. From a long-term perspective, a more developed China will lead to mutually beneficial cooperation between China and the US at a higher level.

Only through fostering mutually beneficial cooperation based on an equal footing can the two countries emerge from the current predicament to usher in a future underpinned by a new type of bilateral relations.

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