Text: | Print|

China US confrontation would be disaster: Xi

2014-07-10 08:41 Global Times Web Editor: Li Yan

President calls on China, US to tackle problems together

Chinese and US leaders Wednesday renewed calls to seek cooperation over confrontation at a high-level annual meeting, in an effort to reverse a downward spiral in bilateral ties over the past months.

The sixth China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED), which runs until Thursday in Beijing, saw candid discussions between senior officials on a wide range of issues, covering cyber security, maritime disputes, nuclear non-proliferation, and a more level playing field for US goods and services in the Chinese market. There was also progress on climate change cooperation.

Addressing the opening session, Chinese President Xi Jinping warned that a confrontation between China and the US would be "a disaster" to both countries and the world.

Noting there is no existing experience or model for building a new type of great power relations, Xi said it is not surprising to see difficulties or even turbulence in bilateral ties.

"The problems are not something to be afraid of. It is critical that we tackle those problems together instead of being led by them," he said.

The S&ED comes at a difficult period in China-US relations, due to Washington's criticisms over Beijing's handling of maritime disputes with its neighbors and its indictment of five Chinese military officers over so-called cyber espionage.

At the dialogue, the US tried to reassure Beijing of its intentions. In a letter to delegates, US President Barack Obama said, "We remain determined to ensure that cooperation defines the overall relationship."

US Secretary of State John Kerry, co-chair of the strategic track of the dialogue with Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi, also reiterated that the US was not seeking to "contain" China.

"I can tell you that we are determined to choose the path of peace and prosperity and cooperation, and yes, even competition, but not conflict," he said.

Proposing methods to stabilize bilateral ties, Xi said the two countries' judgments over each other's strategic intentions will have direct impacts on their policies and ties.

"We shouldn't make mistakes on this fundamental issue, or there will be repeated mistakes," he warned, while clarifying that China is sticking to a path of peaceful development.

Zhou Qi, a research fellow with the Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Xi's proposal got to the nub of recent tensions between China and the US, in which misunderstandings of each other's strategic intentions had accumulated.

"Noises [against bilateral cooperation] in both countries and the complex situation in the region led to ambiguous perceptions of each other's strategic intentions," said Yu Wanli, a professor of international relations at Peking University.

"Xi's remarks are not only directed at those in the US but also at some people in China, who hold radical views [on China-US relations], reminding them to recognize the overall situation," Yu said.

Much of the Chinese public holds the view that Washington is seeking to contain the country, while the US fears that China is seeking to push it out of Asia and claims that Beijing is "aggressive" in its maritime disputes.

"The severe miscalculation of China's intentions is a result of ideological differences, [and the US] clinging to the China threat theory and a Cold War mindset. And to some extent, the US is doing it on purpose due to its bias," said Chu Shulong, a deputy director of the Institute of International Strategic and Development Studies at Tsinghua University.

Chu also acknowledged that while the Chinese leadership and scholars hold a relatively objective view of US intentions, a majority of the public have misinterpreted Washington's policy toward China as "merely containment."

The S&ED, though few substantial outcomes are expected, provides the opportunity for both sides to listen to each other.

Despite China's suspension of a cyber working group under the S&ED due to the US indictment of its officers, senior US officials named the issue of cyber security a priority, according to a statement posted on the US State Department's website.

According to Reuters, a senior US administration official said Kerry "made the case to the Chinese for the wisdom of getting back to work in the working group."

An anonymous State Department official told a special briefing in Beijing on Tuesday night that the US is also going to ask China to freeze its infrastructure construction on islets it occupied in the South China Sea.

For its part, China is highlighting cooperation on counter-terrorism, with Yang, the State Councilor, stating that there shouldn't be double standards on the issue.

At the economic track, US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew pressed China to move to a market-driven exchange rate.

In response, China's Vice Premier Wang Yang, who co-chairs the economic track, said China will quicken the pace of reform, but it could not be rushed.

"If reforms go too fast, we could be bogged down in details and make fatal mistakes in China's reform and opening-up. If it's too slow, China's reform process could be affected and the US ... will put pressure [on China]," he was quoted as saying by Reuters.

On Wednesday morning, a joint session on climate change was held under the S&ED, which endorsed a report submitted by a joint working group. On the previous day, the two sides signed eight partnership pacts aimed at cutting greenhouse gases.

However, divergence still remains over the common but differentiated responsibilities in curbing climate change. China insists that developed countries should provide funds and technologies for poor countries, while the US argues that China should not be categorized as a developing country.

The S&ED, which covers some 60 topics, this year also saw some new issues added to the talks.

At the Strategic Security Dialogue held on Tuesday, civilian and uniformed military officers from China and the US discussed shared interests in space security issues, which was added to the list for this year following last year's introduction of discussions on missile defense and nuclear issues.

Comments (0)
Most popular in 24h
  Archived Content
Media partners:

Copyright ©1999-2018 Chinanews.com. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.