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Op-Ed: China-US ties in need of rationality

By Sheng Dingli (People's Daily Online)    10:51, May 17, 2016

An evolving relationship with China is currently a hot topic in the U.S., especially during the presidential election season.

R. Nicholas Burns, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs from 2005-2008 at the Department of State, recently made a speech in Washington, D.C. describing China-U.S. ties as symbiotic. He said the biggest challenge for U.S. diplomacy is balancing partnership and competition with China. Viewing China as an enemy would be a serious mistake, he stressed.

Burns, the former Under Secretary of State emphasized that China is simultaneously a competitor and an essential collaborator of the U.S. What’s key is how the U.S. keeps these two dynamics balanced.

When it comes to the economy, China and the U.S. jointly stabilized the market to help resolve the financial crisis. On diplomacy, the two countries have cooperated to reduce emissions, promote security, and settle the Iranian nuclear issue and Syrian chemical weapons crisis. With regards to politics, both countries have worked together on counter-terrorism and global governance.

As Burns said, the relationship between China and the U.S. clearly has the potential to be beneficial and symbiotic. Nevertheless, since China’s reform and opening up over 30 years ago, the gap between its international influence and that of the U.S. has been narrowing. China’s growing power threatens the dominant position of the U.S. in the Asia-Pacific region.

For that reason, some conservatives and military authorities in the U.S. are reverting to a Cold War mentality, straining to maintain the regional order established by the U.S. in its prime. However, sound China-U.S. relations actually call for rationality, not defensiveness. This is Burns’ point, too. During the election season, his voice and experience should not be underestimated.

The U.S. should think twice before defaulting to full-on competition with China. It is rationality rather than Cold War mentality that will ensure a positive future for bilateral relations between the two countries.

(The author is a professor and the Deputy Dean of the Institute of International Studies at Fudan University.)

This article was edited and translated from 中美关系需要更多理性声音(望海楼), Source: People's Daily

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Hongyu,Bianji)

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