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Editorial: China, US have little possibility to go into strategic confrontation

(People's Daily)    10:07, August 02, 2018

The trade war ignited by the US against China has given rise to mounting worries in Chinese society that a prolonged downward trend or possible strategic deterioration of China-US ties may threaten the destiny of the younger generation.

What’s happening now seems to be overturning the previous judgment held by the Chinese for long that the China-US relationship can never be too good or too bad.

Both objective analysis and ideological sentiments have been made on the “gloomy” prospects of bilateral ties. China’s online ecosystem is swept by not only pessimism caused by dissatisfaction on domestic policies and the fear for a worsened China-US relationship, but also the impulsive call for tit-for-tat measures against the US.

The China-US relations are faced with severe challenges, and the trade war is in essence a process to redefine the China-US relationship amid a strength rebalance between the two countries and changing international arena.

But it is almost impossible for China and the US to let their relations go all the way towards all-round confrontation.

The US foreign policy is shaped by both its strategic aim of containing China’s rise and the pursuit of maximizing interests for its citizens, while as the world’s biggest manufacturer, China has the largest market potential and a huge nuclear power capacity. 

Given such backdrop, the US will never contain China through simplistic methods such as isolation or military deterrence. Its strategy must be an innovative one in the 21st century. 

Under such circumstance, China has to stand firm, keep its orientation, avoid complacency and not be afraid of the US. With rationality, China should be humble and keep the defensive position, and should never provoke the US or boast its strengths in front of it. 

When pressured by the US, China must resolutely oppose and show zero tolerance toward the unreasonable conducts. Meanwhile, it should take reciprocal countermeasures but never overreact. 

China should try its best to avoid a military conflict with the US. In doing that, it should on one hand make sure that the Chinese military do not conduct military operations objected by the US for reasons beyond China’s core interests, and on the other hand resolutely safeguard the bottom line of its core interests, speed up developing its strategic power including nuclear power capability, so that the US don’t dare to challenge its core interests. 

China should also intensify cooperation on its core interests with the US. It should not take the initiative to confront the US, but fight the latter’s bullying behaviors through multilateral approaches. 

In addition, China should respect intellectual property rights, well handle the relationship between its industrial upgrading and the US wish of maintaining high-tech advantages.

China should work hard to find a win-win approach to stabilize the situation and let time give both sides wisdom to ease the tensions.

China should find a realistic way to prevent a zero-sum game between the two countries, and convince the US that China’s rise is not to replace or defeat it.

Washington must accept that China with a big population will ultimately outpace the US in terms of economic sum, and China should accept that the US will continue to be the world’s largest innovation center and possibly be ahead of China in many fields for a long time. 

The proper handling of such a relationship should be put on the top agenda for a China-US strategic dialogue.

Under no circumstance should China start a global geopolitical game or strategic competition with the US, but it will not hesitate to safeguard its interests if facing with hegemonism.

China will never give up its rights for proper development and under no circumstance will it stop progressing, be willing to fall behind and beg the US for peace.

In a word, China does not proactively provoke the US, but it must raise the cost the US has to pay for containing it and seek a win-win situation with greatest sincerity.

In this way, the US will prefer a cooperation with China rather than confrontation. It is also a way to prevent the China-US relations from becoming the 21st century version of the conflicts between the Soviet Union and the US. 

The China-US trade war, as an inevitable conflict, provides both sides a chance to retrospect. As scientific and democratic decision-making has taken the upper hand in the world, it is almost impossible for a major country to bet the fate of a whole nation as a stake. 

The Chinese society should have faith in its national strength and in the government’s capability to deal with the complicated situation, holding a firm belief that today’s China is not to be contained and any power trying to defeat it is nothing but wishful thinking. 

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

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