Chinese President Hu Jintao's state visit to the United States is a great event in the history of the China-US relations, and it is also a key visit that sets the tone for the relations in the new ear and under new conditions. The visit will influence the ties in quite a period of time to come, and lay a new milestone for the stable development of the China-US relations.
Maintaining and expanding common interests, avoiding grave misjudgment in frictional issues and keeping general stability are keys for forming a stable and developing China-US relations. Divergence between the US, the sole super power in the world, and China, a rapidly developing big country, is unavoidable. It is important to note the following three aspects:
First of all, both China and the US should attach importance to and care for the other side's significant interests. The sequence of problems on the list of the two presidents will not be the same. For instance, China takes the Taiwan issue as the most important and sensitive national interest; while the US regards non- proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and deduction of bilateral trade deficit as the most urgent issues. Meanwhile, the two countries have different viewpoints on issues including technology transfer, human rights, and the reform of the United Nations. In my opinion, the art of negotiation is not to set forth one's own point of view, but to understand and attach importance to the problems of the other side and try to bring the most concerned issues on the agenda. The practice of international relations has proven that this is the most possible means to realize win-win.
The decision-making departments of the two countries should try to handle problems that may occur in a cool-headed manner. However complex and variable the relations are, they should bear in mind that keeping dialogue and cooperation, avoiding tensions and confrontations between the two powers with global influences, is not only in line with the common wishes of the world community, but also benefit the maximization of their own interests. With this in mind, they will not magnify partial divergence.
China and the US should keep on seeking new areas of cooperation, using active "increment" to restrain negative "existing problems". It is a fact that some difficult problems and structural troubles do exist in the China-US relations, e.g., the "Taiwan independence" forces, the trade frictions and potential competition in the field of energy. Given the vast size and influence of the two countries, any inappropriate handling of these frequent crises may lead to overall crisis. I propose the related departments and think tanks in the two countries should speed up the study of preventative measures and measures for improvement, such as the establishment of the military communication and crisis management mechanism, to work together to cope with the trade imbalance, and strive to improve utilization rate of energy and exploitation of new energy. It should be seen that high-quality frameworks are often set up in the process of resolving hard problems.
The author Wang Yizhou is research fellow with the Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.