Home>>Columnists >> Li Hongmei's column

Should we cater to the US "special interest" in Asia ?

13:55, August 02, 2011

    Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum

By Li Hongmei

In recent days, Sino-US interaction in the Asia-Pacific region has witnessed an upturn both in cooperation and contest. The tendency is, on the surface, determined by interests and policies, but the profound reason lies in the fact that both are influenced, perhaps subtly, by the self-perception and the perception of each other. Only on the basis of knowing about themselves and knowing about each other, can a sound interaction set in.

From the perspective of security, China should recognize the dual roles played by the U.S. in the regional security, and reach out to cooperate with it, when it plays the constructive role in promoting the regional peace and stability. But China should also raise alert on the destructive role the super power acts at times, and should castigate, boycott it in this regard, and lead it on the right track if possible. Meanwhile, China should also enhance its awareness of the U.S. with the change of time and situation. With its shrinking strength, the U.S. foreign policies and the corresponding activities will be more and more defined by the outside influence.

On this basis, there seems no point for China overstating the US-preached "containment" on China or the defensive measures the U.S. cherishes to counterbalance China.

On the flip side, The U.S should also readily accept the fact that it is an unstoppable trend that China's military might will grow with its increasing national comprehensive strength. And the US in itself is a pivotal factor working on China's security environment. Hence, it is advisable for U.S to brush aside the "China Threat" theory, and face up to the reality that, like it or not, China's military muscle is gaining strength; and it is, thereby, wise to weaken the description of "China Threat", if it cannot be removed.

If, it is normal when the U.S. is just weighing its own security and makes the desirable precautions for a safe existence. But if it seeks the absolute preeminence over a region beyond its reach, and even thinks of having a meddling hand in overseas issues at any possible time, it is a mere hegemony, too wild as an ambition and insane as a decision.

Economically, there is a shift in economic power to Asia, in particular China. Foreign investors now see China as the new economic power in the region and begin diverting the course of direction. Most scholars and policy makers describe this shift in global power as an 'economic hollowing' affecting big market powers such as US and EU in relative sense. But it should also be seen as an advantage in maximizing the economy.

One of the main reasons in China's peaceful rise is the role of her foreign policy in facilitating economic advancement and prosperity. The current China's foreign policy is fundamentally aimed at attaining a "Peaceful Great Power" status in the future through economic development focusing on balancing soft and hard diplomacy in international relations.

Currently, China has the economic capacity and capability to assist developing countries as part of her soft diplomacy to achieve economic prosperity. Take its economic ties with ASEAN nations for instance, the buildup of Asia-Pacific Free Trade Zone and Cross-Pacific strategic economic partnership are both agreeable to the region which has maintained the most dynamic growth in the backdrop of the global slowdown. China will be always ready to see the US involvement in the way to help boost the regional economy.

The dynamics of international relations in Asia are undergoing broad and fundamental changes that are reverberating around the world. Primary among the catalysts of change in the region is the rise of China as the engine of regional economic growth, as a major military power, as a significant voice in regional diplomacy, and as a proactive power in multilateral institutions.

Perhaps, seeing the constructive role the U.S. is still playing in the regional affairs, China is supposed to "appease" the U.S. and even cater to its "special interests" in the region, in hopes that the super power would do a share in peace, stability and prosperity in the strategically significant Asia-Pacific region. Likewise, U.S. should respond with a more flexible stance and a more objective attitude to China's rise as a regional power.

The articles in this column represent the author's views only. They do not represent opinions of People's Daily or People's Daily Online.

Post your comments:

About this column

Li Hongmei, editor and columnist of PD Online.


Li HongLi Hong

After 19 years working for China Daily and its website, Li Hong moved to english.people.com.cn in March 2009.

Li has been a reporter and column writer, mainly on China's economy and politics.

He was graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University, and once studied in University of Hawaii and the Poynter Institute in Florida.

Dai MinJohn
Dai Min

John Milligan-Whyte and Dai Min, the executive producers and co-hosts of the Collaboration of Civilizations television series adapted by the eight books they wrote in the America-China Partnership Book Series published in English and Mandarin in 2009-2010 that created the "New School of America-China Relations." They founded the America-China Partnership Foundation and Forum in 2008 and the Center for American-China Partnership in 2005, which was recognized in 2009 as "the first American think tank to combine and integrate American and Chinese perspectives providing a complete answer for America and China's success in the 21st century."