Opinion / Han Dongping

It is time for the US to change its attitude toward China

By Han Dongping ( Updated: 2015-11-18 11:57

It is time for the US to change its attitude toward China

The 2015 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Economic Leaders' Week hosted by the Philippines began in Manila. [Photo/IC]

The ongoing APEC meeting in Manila today and Thursday is an important forum for leaders from the region to consult with one another to promote cooperation among member economies and peace in the region and in the world.

It is time for the US to change its attitude toward China

Han Dongping

Economically, Asia Pacific is the most vibrant region in the world, and plays a vital role for world economy and world peace. Economic development needs a secure social climate. In the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris, Beirut and elsewhere, people in the region should value the relative serenity in the region, and collaborate to promote security in the region.

In order to promote economic development in the region, China sponsored AIIB in March, which not only attracted nations from the region, but also nations outside the region, like Britain, France and Germany. This is good news for Asia Pacific. But the United States, the No. 1 economy in the world and in the region, not only refused to join, but also tried to persuade its allies not to join. This is really a deplorable situation.

The US has benefited tremendously from China's economic development in the last three decades, and American people know the potential benefit from cooperation with China. But some of the American decision makers are trapped in the superpower syndrome. They worry about losing its superpower position to China, and are doing everything they can to undermine China in its effort to promote peace and economic development in the region.

The US also has been sponsoring TPP, which is reckoned as a way to isolate China economically. The US must realize the reality that it is impossible to isolate China any more. As the second largest economy in the world, and growing daily at a speed faster than any other country in the world, China is a huge market with great potential. No country in the region or in the world will want to forfeit its opportunities in the Chinese market. The US decision makers' efforts to isolate China will only end up isolating themselves. But American people will not allow their decision makers to shut the US out of Chinese markets.

With the changed social climate in Asia Pacific and the world, US decision makers should give up the unrealistic sum-zero mindset of containing China, and learn to cooperate more sincerely with China to create a situation that both China and the US will be winners in the end. That is the only direction the American people and Chinese people want their leaders to work toward, and that is the only result that is desirable for both the Chinese and American people, as well as everybody else in the world.

There are many reasons for China and the US to cooperate and work together. There are also many reasons for the US and China to be suspicious of each other, and work to undermine each other. It is up to the leaders of both nations to provide the leadership and to work out some ways that the two nations can avoid the conventional trap of rivalry and competition.

The Chinese people need to understand that as the only superpower in the world, the US wants to keep it that way. The US also must understand that the 1.4 billion Chinese people, with a written history of 5,000years, have the right to develop and grow. If the US wants to keep its superpower position in the world, then it should work hard to grow and develop positively. But if the US wants to keep its superpower position in the world by blocking China's progress, the Chinese people, and the people of the world will not allow it. If the US wants to defy the Chinese will to develop and the world people's see China's rise, the US will only end up hurting itself.

The author is a professor of Warren Wilson College and guest professor of Hebei University.

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