China is looking for ways to revive ties with the United States: The Tribune India
China is looking for ways to revive ties with the United States: The Tribune India

China is looking for ways to revive ties with the United States: The Tribune India


Jayadeva Ranade


President, Center for China Analysis and Strategy

As China’s economic situation worsens and tensions in the neighborhood rise, the Chinese leadership is concerned about the turnaround its relations with the United States are taking. China acknowledges that this bilateral relationship has greatly facilitated its progress. The US remains China’s primary source of high technology, Chinese companies are listed on the New York Stock Exchange, and China’s exports to the US reached a full $ 452.58 billion by 2020. Any further decline would stop if not reverse China’s rise.

To get a sense of China’s thinking about China-US relations, it is worth examining comments from influential Chinese analysts, including those made around the time of the US-China summit in November 2021. These comments reflect the divergence of views. , which has existed for some years within the CCP and suggests that the subject is again under active discussion, with a renewed focus on ways to repair it. Preparations for a potential meeting between top Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi and US national security adviser Jake Sullivan on key national security issues could also be a factor in the resurgence of the debate.

Yuan Peng, one of China’s leading American experts who heads the State Security Ministry’s think tank, warns that the US is used to dealing with other countries from a position of strength and has failed to see the East ‘rise’ while the West ‘falling’.

He says the 9/11 attacks caused a security crisis, that the 2008 subprime failure led to an economic crisis, and that Trump’s victory in 2016 created a political crisis. Now, he says, the United States may also face a social crisis of a magnitude it has not seen in decades.

Referring to the United States’ hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan, the analyst claims that the United States was willing to lose face in order to better respond to China. He states that what really worries the United States is not the extent of China’s economic strength, but the growth of its science and technology, its military and its model of government, which have facilitated China’s progress.

This shift in US strategic focus to the ‘Indo-Pacific’ has now brought it to China’s doorstep, he declares, with the two sides facing ‘hand-to-hand contact’ for the first time in a century, contemplating each other’s every move with suspicion.

Although Yuan appears to be taking a tough stance, he subtly suggests that China will have to compromise with the United States in the short term to facilitate its development. Because, he argues, the United States is still powerful, and “the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation” is the most important issue for China.

Yang Jiemian, another expert and brother of a member of the Politburo, appears to be following the government’s hawkish stance. He suggests that China play out of the United States against Russia and vice versa. At the same time, Beijing must remain aware of Washington’s attempts to divide China, while acknowledging that Russia is on guard against China’s growing influence in Eurasia, as even brothers may have problems.

Yang also expresses concern about China’s deteriorating ties with Europe, which he calls the fourth pillar of global affairs. With Angela Merkel’s departure, he says, it would be unrealistic to expect Sino-German relations to remain the same, because while Europe and the United States may have differences, these are only up to a point.

The views of China’s longest-serving ambassador to the United States, Cui Tiankai, are also significant. Ideologically, one of the more conservative ‘left’ cadres, Cuis’s term in Washington was extended by Xi Jinping because he had built up good access to Donald Trump’s family and inner circle. Interestingly, although Cuis’s views appear to have sharpened since his appointment as ambassador, he also suggests that China should keep an eye on the bigger issue of its “great rejuvenation” and be “clear-headed and fully prepared to deal with twists and turns, turbulence and even the roller coaster of relations between China and the United States in the future. “

Cui also claims that China needs to be very vigilant while trading with the United States, as tensions between the two powers continue to grow despite the November summit, and these are unlikely to improve in the near future.

He adds that there has been “a very strong element of racism” in Washington’s China policy, where the United States is not willing to accept the emergence of a power that is very different in its social system, ideology, cultural traditions and ethnicity. “The United States will inevitably try all possible means and spare no effort, even without a bottom line, to oppress, contain, divide and besiege China,” he claims.

Zhang Baijian – who took part in Zhou Enlai’s talks with Henry Kissinger during his secret visit to China in 1971 – presents a somewhat opposite view. Zhang seems to leave the door open for compromise and stresses the need for China to balance its opening with protecting its national interests. He warns that the United States is down, but not out, and while its role as global leader is declining, history shows it can recover and revive.

All three were careful to subtly express their views without openly criticizing Xi’s American policies. But in a thinly veiled critique on Jan. 23, Jia Qingguo, an American expert and member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the country’s highest political advisory body, warned China against focusing unnecessarily on national security as it would be. self-destructive.

These comments will have troubled Xi, and they come as they do just months before the crucial 20th Party Congress, where his third term will be decided. Nevertheless, Xi is likely to continue to pursue his hard line to avoid obstacles and prevent any face loss – at least until the party congress.


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