Prof. ST Hsieh
Director, US-China Energy Industry Forum
July 2, 2023
US-China relation is a global concern because any crisis will have significant impacts on the global economy. It is important to hear and analyze the voices from China on what are their concerns and suggestions for a peaceful resolution. It is a bilateral relation or competition so it will never be one nation’s show. Some observations based on the following reports from Global Times, a Chinese daily newspaper published in English.
- It is absolutely clear that both the US and China need to urgently find ways to reverse the mistrust. But it is very challenging because the “mistrusts” do exist among the majority of 1.2 billion Chinses and 300 million Americans.
- But the first priority is that both sides must stop openly challenging each other’s priorities almost every day. Specifically, each administration should set a comprehensive coherent policy and follow it through. As of now, many inconsistent messages, including gaffes and news leaks, are all over the media. It drives endless public opinion debates confusing the other party.
- There were exchanges or interactions before the mutual trust was lost. So, US-China both have had many “tool sets” before, for example there was the annual US-China Strategic Economic Dialogues. Not so long ago, there were some hundred thousand Chinese students in the US ever year for undergraduate and graduate studies.
- Commercial flights between the US and China need to fully recover from the COVID-19 era as soon as possible.
Exclusive: China and US need to urgently find ways to reverse the mistrust: former US assistant secretary of state
By Chen Qingqing Published: Jul 02, 2023 03:57 PM
Neither US leader or Chinese leader want conflict or war but conflict and war don’t necessarily happen on purpose, they can come about by accident, which is worrisome, meaning we need to urgently find ways to reverse the mistrust between our countries, Daniel Russel, Vice President for International Security and Diplomacy at the Asia Society Policy Institute, told the Global Times on the sidelines of the 11th World Peace Forum in Beijing.
“I think there is a real risk that there could be an incident between China and the US that because we don’t have good channels of dialogue and because mutual trust is at such a low level, an incident could quickly escalate into a crisis, and a crisis could potentially escalate into conflict, even though neither of our presidents, neither of our governments want that,” Russel said.
As a former assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs at the US State Department, the US veteran diplomat said the two countries need to urgently find ways to reverse the mistrust between each other. “And it’s going to take more than speeches. It is going to require real diplomatic efforts behind closed doors,” he said.
“There’s no one solution, I think the situation is so serious that we need to try every tool in our tool kit,” Russel said, noting that for example, military officers from two countries getting to know each other was a critical part of the solution.
Once they meet, once they talk, they find that they have a lot in common. The goal is to reduce misunderstanding and to reduce mistakes, he said. “Militaries are always going to prepare for a dangerous, bad situation. They prepare for the worst. But the worst would be, if there is a mistake, a misunderstanding or a miscalculation that leads ultimately to a crisis,” Russel said.
In commenting on the recent visit of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to China and the remarks of the US senior diplomat about “peaceful co-existence” with China while “do and say things that China doesn’t like”, Russel said it’s fine to have areas where we compete, it’s fine to have areas where we disagree.
“China is not going to give up its priorities to accommodate the US. Neither is the US going to stop pursuing what we consider to be important. But in the past, that has not been an obstacle to the US and China cooperating, where our interests overlap, or where we each have a shared responsibility,” he noted.
“So competition can be stressful and arguments are unpleasant, but we can finish the argument, set it aside, and also work together on the things that we agree on,” Russel said.
“Mao Zedong and Richard Nixon could not have been more different, but that didn’t stop them from working to find a path for mutual interest. We need to work to find a similar path today.”
US ‘friendly’ overtures hard to cover real intention to ‘de-China,’ says analyst after CIA chief refutes ‘decoupling’
‘De-risking’ essentially ‘de-China’ for Washington
By Xu Keyue Published: Jul 02, 2023 10:11 PM
Although the US has made a series of “friendly” overtures toward China recently, Chinese analysts said that the rhetoric emanating from some senior US officials is not matched by their deeds, and the “de-risking” narrative they chant is still a ruse to “de-China” in certain US sectors, including investment, technology and industry layout, and induce its allies to follow suit.
US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director William Burns said during a lecture at the Oxfordshire-based Ditchley Foundation – a nonprofit organization in the UK that focuses on the US-UK relations – on Saturday that “decoupling” from China would be “foolish” given the deep economic interdependence, so the US should “de-risk” and try to diversify its supply chains.
While some dovish US politicians have become increasingly vocal about their realization that “decoupling” is unrealistic and are trying to erase the word from policy documents and speeches, some hawkish US forces continue to push for “decoupling” under the guise of more moderate terms such as “de-risking” – just a different name for the same strategy, which is to contain China’s economic and technological rise, according to analysts.
Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University, said that abandoning the “decoupling” narrative reflects that in the practice of China policy under the Biden administration, Washington has realized that a harsh “decoupling” harms the US economy and would isolate the superpower with little support from its allies.
But there is a cognitive gap between the US and its allies toward the so-called de-risking, Li noted. For the US, its goal is to separate certain technologies, investment and some industrial layout from the Chinese market. At the same time, it also wants its allies follow suit.
“De-risking for the US is to ‘de-China’ in essence,” Li said. But for major European countries, de-risking is to make the supply chain and some related industries more resilient, he said.
Although Burns sent a positive signal toward China in his speech in the UK, it was not more than “lip service” which is unconvincing considering the series of China-containing measures that Washington issued recently, some Chinese analysts stated.
Last month the US government added 43 entities, including 31 in China, to its export control list, known as the “Entity List,” accusing these entities of providing training to Chinese military pilots and other activities that are perceived to threaten US national security.
In another development, US President Joe Biden on Friday accepted the Letter of Credence of new Chinese Ambassador to the US Xie Feng, in the Oval Office of the White House.
Some analysts noted that Biden accepted Xie’s credentials very quickly, and the meeting was arranged in the Oval Office of the White House, showing a “gesture of friendship and respect” that Biden tried to express to China.
This again reveals that Biden administration’s approach to China is complex – Biden wants to contain China’s development and expand US influence, but he hopes the relationship with China will not be too confrontational. He wants to make bilateral relations “more or less tolerable,” provided China compromises more, an Chinese analyst said on condition of anonymity.
Li criticized that the US lacks the consciousness of introspection and empathy in its China policy, and to make China compromise is actually a hegemonic logic that tries to use its strength to overwhelm China, but that this tactic will not work.