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Report: China, US to tweak mindsets

By Zhang Yunbi (China Daily)

08:12, May 30, 2012

Beijing and Washington should expand areas of consensus to shape a new pattern of ties between the two major powers, a report by a Chinese think tank said on Tuesday.

The Blue Book of The United States 2012 by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences also said the upcoming US election "won't make a substantial impact" to bilateral ties.

However, changes in the balance of power and strategies, as well as internal and external circumstances, are taking place between the two major economies, according to the report.

Although policymakers in both Beijing and Washington are expected to establish a new pattern of relations, the way ahead is long and full of challenges, said Yuan Peng, one of the Blue Book's writers and an expert of American studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

In the context of looming global economic downturns, China is narrowing the balance of power with the US.

Ten years ago, China's GDP was only 20 percent that of the US. Now it is nearly half.

"The balance of power between the two countries is undergoing a substantial change, which might be more dramatic in the 10 years to come, and both sides should tweak their mindsets and strategies for the change," said Yuan.

The past 10 years witnessed the remaking of China-US strategies, as the US has pledged to shift its focus back to the Asia-Pacific region, the report said.

"Economic and trade ties are also transitioning from a stabilizing and facilitating force to a source for conflicts and frictions" because of the shrinking complementarity, the report warned.

Meanwhile, 2012 poses a great re-election challenge for US President Barack Obama, which hinges on whether he can effectively revive the economy and increase employment, the report said.

Yet analysts said this year's election is different from previous ones as the year is key to the future path of China-US ties in years to come.

The Obama administration's decision to work for a new pattern of relations shows its sincerity to reduce toughness and boost cooperation with China, and a change of the leader may "disturb and even bring a U-turn" to Washington's China-related policymaking, said Yuan.

"Obama's re-election, if achieved, will avoid unnecessary policy transitions and fluctuations, and the China-US relationship cannot afford any more major unsteadiness," Yuan added.

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