Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Inclusive order still vital for China, US

By Li Haidong (China Daily) Updated: 2015-01-15 07:39

Inclusive order still vital for China, US

Delivering a keynote speech at the 25th China-US Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade session last month in Chicago, the United States, Vice-Premier Wang Yang said China was willing to join the US-led economic system, stressing that the US would continue to be the most powerful nation and that a rising China "has neither the intention nor the capability to challenge America's leading status".

"We basically accept these rules and are willing to play a constructive role in the global economic structure, established under the US leadership even before China started its reform and opening-up efforts", Wang said.

A paper recently published by Gatestone Institute, a US international policy council and think tank, has interpreted Wang's remark as a "dramatic change of heart by the Chinese leadership", which earlier "seemed extremely suspicious of America's hegemonic role in the world". Titled "China's New International Mindset?", the paper concludes that "China seems to have realized the extreme difficulty of simply barging into a world already shaped by centuries of traditions alien to it".

Unlike what Gatestone Institute has done, Wang's remark should be seen as a fair sum-up of Sino-US relations since 1978, the year when China launched reform and opening-up. China's notable economic success over three and half decades lies mainly in its effective integration into the global economy. In other words, China has benefited much from international economic rules, even though they are more or less "made in the US".

A country's foreign policy should be based on the clear understanding of its strength. The truth is, a constantly rising China still needs a long time to catch up with the US, whose GDP and military expenditure in 2014 were twice and four times that of China.

On the diplomatic front, the US has about 40 formal allies, while there is hardly a country that can be said to be an ally of non-aligned China. In addition, the US' unparalleled development of new technologies and innovation capacity, along with its overpowering advantage in use of the "global language" of English, have further consolidated its leading role in global governance.

Making such facts clear is in the interest of China, whose powerful rise in recent years has been wrongly interpreted most of the times. For China, the ideal thing to do would be to quieten the voices at home that underestimate the recovery of the US economy, and alleviate Washington's concerns over the supposed challenges posed by Beijing.

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