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Pivot not zero-sum game: official

Updated: 2013-12-19 12:02
By Chen Weihua in Washington ( China Daily USA)

Pivot not zero-sum game: official

The environmental health of San Francisco's troubled Treasure Island has been called into question by recent press reports of incomplete recovery from its days as a cleanup site for US Navy ships that had been exposed to nuclear tests at sea during the Cold War. Chen Jia / China Daily

A senior US State Department official reiterated that the US rebalance to Asia strategy is not meant to contain China as part of a zero sum game, but rather to build a foundation of long-term mutual understanding and respect.

The words - from Scot Marciel, principal deputy assistant secretary of state at the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs - came amid widespread Chinese suspicion of the US strategy and the recent tensions arising from China's newly declared East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone, as well as other regional and bilateral issues.

"We have emphasized practical cooperation to avoid the trap of strategic competition," Marciel told the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs on Wednesday.

During their informal summit at Sunnylands, California, in early June, Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Barack Obama agreed to build a new type of major country relationship to defy the historical patterns of rivalry between a rising power and an existing power.

But many experts, such as Richard Bush of the Brookings Institution, believe that both countries should work to enrich such a concept.

Bush said that it is a good thing that China and the US understand how destructive the old pattern of great power rivalry is to world peace.

"The fact that China recognizes that and we recognize that too is good," Bush said. "Let's start from there and in a very pragmatic way. Maybe we should all do some work - scholars and people in the government - to create content."

Marciel's testimony on Wednesday focused mainly on the economic aspects of the US rebalancing strategy.

He said the US called on China to strengthen household consumption, allow the renminbi exchange rate to be determined by market forces, protect intellectual property rights, liberalize factory prices, expand market access, adopt greater regulatory transparency and establish a level playing field in its markets for private- and foreign-invested companies.

These issues were mostly addressed in the economic reform measures rolled out during and after the Third Plenum held in November.

Marciel mentioned the high-level talks between the US and China, including the Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) and the Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT). "These dialogues provide opportunities to raise our top priorities and concerns with the Chinese leadership, as well as in comprehensive working-level discussions," he said.

"Although strictly bilateral, we engage at these dialogues on some of the Asia-Pacific region's most dynamic issues, global challenges, such as energy, climate change and financial stability," he said.

In the statement, Marciel touted the dynamic Asia-Pacific as vital for creating US jobs and boosting US economic growth in the decades to come.

On Tuesday, senior executives from major US tech companies met with Obama to express their deep concern that the widespread spying by the National Security Agency (NSA) was having a negative impact on their business around the world. But the executives left the White House without a commitment from Obama to restrict the NSA's rampant snooping.

Reuters reported that Cisco Systems' revenue in China fell by 18 percent in the quarter ended in October, a major contributor to a 21 percent decline in the company's top five emerging markets.

Cisco said on Nov 13 that a backlash against US government spying in China contributed to its declining revenue, after the revelations by NSA contractor Edward Snowden in June.

On Wednesday, a panel appointed by Obama to review government surveillance activities recommended that NSA should no longer keep collecting virtually all Americans' phone records. It also recommended that the US should take a close look at the decision to spy on foreign leaders, as revealed by Snowden. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff both voiced outrage on learning they were being spied on by the NSA.



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