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China stands ready to fight for its interests and the future of globalization

By Curtis Stone (People's Daily Online)    11:32, April 08, 2018

The looming trade war between America and China, the world’s two largest economies, is the front-line of the battle between an emerging China-led order of multilateralism and free trade, and US unilateralism and protectionism. It is a battle between “bridges and walls,” and China is ready to fight till the bitter end.

China, a country that embraced the world with open arms 40 years ago, has emerged as the leading champion of globalization.

Globalization certainly has its problems, but it is also an irreversible trend that has had a positive impact on the world.

“Just blaming economic globalization for the world’s problems is inconsistent with reality, and it will not help solve the problems,” Chinese President Xi Jinping said in a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January 2017.

“Economic globalization has powered global growth and facilitated movement of goods and capital, advances in science, technology and civilization, and interactions among peoples,” Xi said.

Trump’s America rejects this vision. In his inaugural speech, which was given around the same time that Xi gave his well-received speech on globalization, Donald Trump locked the American people in a dark room, blocking their light and air.

“From this moment on, it’s going to be America First. Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families,” Trump said.

“We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs,” Trump said. “Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength,” he added.

A line has been drawn in the sand. On one side, you have China, which pursues the goal of common prosperity and believes that growing an open global economy will achieve win-win outcomes. On the other side, you have Trump’s America, which pursues the goal of individual prosperity and blames globalization and other countries and peoples for America’s (and the world’s) problems.

Now the Trump administration is trying to pick a fight with China. Essentially, the Trump administration is shifting the blame of America’s decline onto China and trying to gain unfair advantage over its “competitor” by slowing down China’s economic growth, especially in emerging industries of the future, such as artificial intelligence, robotics, and quantum computing.

The looming trade war is just smoke and mirrors for a larger strategy to contain China’s rise and maximize the power of the United States. As Trump’s National Security Strategy emphasizes, Washington views the world as an “arena of continuous competition.”

The world's two largest economies are closely interconnected. It is not about "winning" or "losing." The Trump administration fails to see the long-term benefits and win-win outcomes of the US-China bilateral economic and trade relationship, because its view is clouded by Cold War-era mentality and zero-sum logic.

At the core, this is a battle between a declining superpower and a rising China-backed global community. It is about US unilateralism challenging globalization, and US protectionism challenging free trade.

Facing such a threat, China has little choice but to stand its ground and fight for its legitimate rights, national interests, and the future of globalization.

Trump’s trademark tactics of bullying and intimidation will never bring China to its knees, and China will never allow globalization and free trade to be unfairly rigged against the global community.

In a trade war, everyone loses. As China has pointed out, if the process of economic globalization is disrupted as a result of Trump’s threats to multilateralism and free trade, the global economic recovery will be severely imperiled.

“This is detrimental to the vital interests of China and even more detrimental to the common interests of the world,” a spokesperson with the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said Friday in response to Trump’s threat to impose $100 billion more in tariffs on China for “unfair retaliation.

The Chinese position has been very clear. China does not want to fight a trade war, but is not afraid to fight a trade war. “Facing such a major issue, we must fight resolutely,” the spokesperson said.

“Even though we are not the ones to stir up trouble, we will resolutely strike back if trouble is brought to our doorstep,” the spokesperson added. “Chinese people always act earnestly and deliver what we promise.”

It is unlikely that protection will “make American great again.” Furthermore, many people would agree that China holds all the cards in this game. With an army of 1.4 billion consumers who are proud of their nation’s development and the world’s second largest economy, China has the confidence and strength to fight till the bitter end. America would pay a high price in the event of an all-out trade war, and it would be a pity if Trump’s core supporters are the ones who have to foot the bill.

>>Related reading: China is not in fear of trade war with U.S.

Following U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat to slap additional tariffs on $100 billion in imports from China on Thursday, experts and media outlets in China have slammed the decision as “an economic dead end,” stressing that the country and the public are not afraid of such “inequitable treatment.”

 

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

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