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US, China need to find ways to get along better with each other

By Curtis Stone (People's Daily Online)    11:07, December 12, 2017

On Dec. 9, at the opening ceremony of the Symposium on International Developments and China’s Diplomacy in 2017, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that the sound interactions between the world’s two largest economies and their commitment to win-win cooperation is sending a strong signal to the world and more positive things are to be expected for all parties.

During his speech, Wang Yi said that China has no intention to change or displace the United States, but stressed that the US cannot dictate or impede its development. Noting that the two countries’ interests are closely tied together and their shared interests far outweigh their differences, Wang reminded that confrontation between the two sides would only result in a lose-lose situation.

Recognizing this, he said that the two countries need to find ways to get along better with each other. “China is willing, on the basis of mutual respect, to live peacefully with the American superpower. The US needs to understand and accept a China that is following its own path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, one suited to its own conditions,” Wang said.

“For both countries, the old-fashioned mentality of zero-sum game and confrontation works no longer. Putting aside differences, seeking common ground, and pursuing win-win cooperation are the only right choice for a bright future,” he added.

Yet, despite China’s benign intentions and the overall positive direction of China-US relations, some argue that war between the two sides is not only possible, but likely, citing the so-called “Thucydides Trap,” which states that when a rising power threatens to displace a ruling one, the most likely outcome is war.

However, this is just an assumption, and not the law of great powers; even more so, the iron law of international relations. As pointed out, the old way of power politics no longer works. The Western-dominated world order is becoming a global village where all nations must work together and, despite a host of global threats and some disturbing trends, the overall trend is toward a world that is an inseparable community of common destiny.

At the same time, China has neither the intent nor the interest to seek development and security through conflict. China needs long-term peace and stability to continue its development momentum and push forward the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. The goal of building of a new type of international relations based on win-win cooperation is not meant to challenge to the current order, but to lessen the risk of strategic miscalculation between big powers.

As President Xi Jinping said, there is no “Thucydides Trap,” only the repeated occurrence of strategic mistakes among major powers. “There is no such thing as the so-called Thucydides Trap in the world. But should major countries time and again make the mistakes of strategic miscalculation, they might create such traps for themselves,” Xi said. Therefore, China disagrees with the Western argument, but will heed the warning and step up communication and cooperation.

Likewise, the fear that China will replace the US as the new global hegemon is not based on relevant facts, but is related to the ruthless history of the West and its long-standing goal to run the world. As stated on multiple occasions, China will never impose its will on others or become a big bully. “China will never seek hegemony or engage in expansion,” Xi said.

The China-US relationship has come a long way. In today’s world, it is difficult for power politics and zero-sum games to continue to dominate the evolution of world affairs. Nowadays, countries face common challenges and all people aspire to peace, which means the era of settling disputes through conflict has long passed. Building a clean and beautiful community of shared future for humankind featuring enduring peace, universal security, common prosperity, and openness and inclusiveness is where the future lies.

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

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