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Tuesday, June 06, 2000, updated at 09:52(GMT+8)

Sino-US Relations Face Mixed Future

Co-existence, conflicts, co-operation and competition will be new characteristics in Sino-US relations in the next century.

The United States and China, the most important developed country and the largest rapidly growing developing country, will continue to co-operate in the 21st century.

The foundation for co-operation is that the two countries have identical or similar stands on some major international issues.

China needs a stable international environment to promote social and economic development and raise its people's living standards. The United States also needs such an environment to maintain the status of world superpower and prevent its interests from being challenged in the world.

The United States regards the proliferation of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons and missiles as the major threat to its national security.

The proliferation of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons and missiles also constitutes a threat to China's national security. With the vigorous development of China's modernization programme, China will have to exert even greater efforts to thwart such a threat.

As two nuclear nations, China and the United States have already been challenged by nuclear proliferation in the South Asian region.

India and Pakistan tested armed nuclear devices in 1998.

China and the United States promptly denounced the proliferative activities of the two South Asian nations and denied the legality of these two South Asian countries in acquiring their nuclear status.

This is an extraordinary sign of co-operation between the two big powers on a strategic issue.

Meanwhile, China and the United States reached consensus and strengthened their efforts in controlling the export of nuclear materials.

China and the United States share interests in establishing a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula and replacing hostility with a peace mechanism there.

China and the United States share the need and the responsibility to stabilize the economic and financial order in the world for their own basic interests. During the Asian financial crisis in the past two years, China made significant contributions in stabilizing the regional financial situation.

With the vigorous growth of China's economy after its entry into the World Trade Organization, China and the United States will find more common interests and responsibilities in stabilizing and promoting the world economy.

As everyone knows, the most important and sensitive core issue between China and the United States is the Taiwan question.

The three Sino-US joint communiques have played a decisive role to help the two countries forge diplomatic relations, in which the United States admitted that there is only one China - the People's Republic of China - and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China.

However, the United States often ignores its own commitments by continuously selling arms to Taiwan, infringing on China's sovereignty.

Its aim is to obstruct China's reunification to serve its global strategic interests.

The US practice completely defies the norms of international laws.

In the past decade, the US' China policy was full of activities that ran counter to US commitments in opposing "two Chinas" or "one China, one Taiwan."

The United States has not only broken its faith, but also put the Sino-US relations in a dangerous zone.

Strictly speaking, US arms sales to Taiwan and its sanctions upon China in the past 10 years indicate that the relations between the two countries have never been normalized.

The limited co-operation in the past 21 years since the establishment of the diplomatic relations between the two was built on an extremely weak foundation.

The Taiwan question is like a time bomb that could topple Sino-US relations at any time.

It should be pointed out that the Taiwan matter today is much more complicated than before. The fact that the question continues on is, to a great extent, due to US interference.

The United States seeks to impose its own will on China in setting a pattern for China's reunification. In its eyes, anything else will harm the US national security interests. This kind of logic leads to the conclusion that in dealing with power politics, a nation's own interests can only be firmly protected by developing its own strength.

The Taiwan question is, after all, China's internal affair. It is a matter that the Chinese people should settle peacefully with wisdom.

If the United States continuously sells arms to Taiwan and supports efforts to split China, such actions could cause serious conflicts between China and the United States. It must be pointed out that if strategic confrontation between China and the United State takes place in the new century, it will be a conflict imposed by US interventionism on China, not the other way round.

For its own construction and regional and world peace, China does not want to get involved in any conflict.

To increase its national strength by developing its modernization programme, China must work hard to avoid any conflict. However, if conflict is unavoidably imposed upon China, it has no choice but to respond. China should safeguard its own interests and respond to conflict with the use of force to complete national reunification.

The reason why the United States is mistaken on this question is because:

It believes that it has the right to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries;

It seeks absolute security.

Both ideas are wrong.

The United States is also rapidly developing the Theatre Missile Defence (TMD) system.

The possibility has not been ruled out that the United States may export the TMD system to Taiwan.

If the United States does so, another major crisis will be triggered between the two nations.

Due to the fact that this system may not function well under actual conditions, the United States only gives Taiwan a false sense of security. It is for this reason that Washington may easily become Taiwan's hostage. Under any circumstance, the Chinese mainland has ample means and resources to handle the situation.

With the shrinking gap between the national strengths of the two countries, the United States should become more reasonable in the new century to prevent the outbreak of conflicts.

Both China and the United States are large countries. Their own national goals are naturally of strategic significance. Thus, Sino-US relations are of a strategic nature.

In view of the high price that they would pay for confrontation, the two will definitely try their best to avoid violent clashes.

It is possible to transform the three aspects of co-operation, competition, and conflicts in Sino-US relations. As long as China and the United States join together in handling matters from the strategic perspective to maintain their bilateral relations and global stability, they will be able to turn their struggles and conflicts into competition and co-operation. A future with healthy competition and co-operation is in the basic interests of the Chinese and US people.

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Co-existence, conflicts, co-operation and competition will be new characteristics in Sino-US relations in the next century.

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