China must focus even more on its own business amid China-US de-escalation: Global Times editorial – Community News
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China must focus even more on its own business amid China-US de-escalation: Global Times editorial

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

The lifting of visa restrictions for each other’s journalists is the first realistic result of the virtual meeting between the heads of state of China and the US. Jake Sullivan, the US national security adviser, said Tuesday that the leader-leader interaction should lead to a series of tasks for senior and authorized interlocutors on both sides to see where the two countries can make progress, to reduce the potential for friction. and conflicts. His statement further confirms the US readiness to ease tensions with China.

Sullivan told the Brookings Institution, a US think tank, that there are four major concerns about US China policy. These are: First, the areas where China and the US need to work closely together because their interests are aligned and urgent work needs to be done to move them forward; two, immediate challenges where the two countries have historically worked together and now face significant moments; three, how to deal effectively with differences through clear communication, such as on the Taiwan issue; and four, resolving some of the remaining issues in the Phase One trade deal and using all available tools to address China’s “non-market economic practices”. The gist of Sullivan’s remarks was similar to Secretary Blinken’s, who said the US approach to China will be “competitive when necessary, cooperative when possible and hostile when necessary”.

The US has repeatedly stressed the need to put in place “guardrails” to intense competition between China and the US to prevent potential conflict. As China emphasized how to deal with differences, such an argument was unacceptable to China, as the US-defined “intense competition” implies the legitimacy of containing and suppressing China. The “guardrails” are also a unilateral constraint on China in terms of US and its allies interests. In comparison, the expression of dealing with differences starts from a more equal point of view and requires both parties to assume obligations.

The positive evaluation of the “guardrails” is that the US believes there is a growing risk of unmanageable conflict between China and the US due to increasing risks from excessive competition or miscalculation, and thus has a clear willingness to reduce risk. Neither country wants to slide into an uncontrollable strategic clash, increasing the urgency of the leaders’ meeting and the practical implementation of the summit’s outcome.

It should be noted that the alarm bell has been sounded on the broader field of China-US relations, not on the situation where the US has pushed China into a strategic corner. This benefited from China’s effective resistance to bullying by the US on all fronts in recent years. It has created space for China to maneuver strategically with the US and has been given its own right to speak at ease and contest the US.

The US strategy to contain China has not changed and is unlikely to change. But the US has recently slowed down and adjusted the pressure, opening room for China-US cooperation in areas such as climate change that are urgently needed. Whether this will be a meaningful shift in US policy toward China remains to be seen. The US must cooperate, but is still reluctant to accept the reality. It still wants to emphasize its competitive-based strategy. It is feared that Washington will renounce in the future.

China has proven in recent years that it has an endless carrying capacity. For example, most trade war indicators are working in China’s favour, while the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the US at its weakest point, making it less able to stage new attacks on China. Our strength continues to grow in the game and the power gap between China and the US has narrowed further. All of this has inflicted heavy losses on the ambitions of some US political elites to use brute force to crush China in a short time or destroy its growth momentum. China’s way of minding its own business has met with initial success and dealt a blow to Washington’s arrogance towards Beijing.

When Biden took office, his administration repeatedly praised dealing with China “from a strong position”. Compared to the historical situation, the support offered today by the strong position of the US is relatively smallest. The volume of production and the share of international trade between China and the US is approximately equal. China’s potential and stamina are greater than that of the US. Do US political elites still believe they can successfully control and transform China? The Biden administration recently said it is not trying to change the Chinese system. This doesn’t seem like just another smokescreen to lull China to sleep.

Our conclusion is that US policy towards China is volatile and Washington’s words and actions are often inconsistent. Still, China has continued to do its own thing, our constant asset against the changes in the US. Doing our own thing well is China’s greatest skill, and it is also our greatest advantage in the game against the US. The signs of easing in China-US relations deserve our serious attention and maintenance. At the same time, the Chinese people must remember: we can only rely on ourselves.