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Washington urged to not 'misjudge' Beijing

By HAN BAOYI in London | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-01-29 10:01
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John Ross, senior fellow of the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China [Photo provided to]

The United States must avoid misjudging China as the new administration in Washington is set to recalibrate the bilateral relations of the two major powers, said John Ross, a senior fellow of the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China in Beijing.

"It's very dangerous for a major great power like the United States to have a distorted view of the world," said Ross, referring to the "Cold War mentality" of former president Donald Trump's administration against China.

One of the consequences of this "lose-lose policy" is that it prevented Washington from learning the lessons of China's fight against COVID-19, which has caused more than 430,000 deaths in the United States, said Ross, who used to work as an economic adviser to former London mayor Ken Livingstone.

"The general method of demagoguery is the worst. Some of the tweets by former secretary of state Mike Pompeo lead to a distorted view of the world," Ross said.

"China has no interest in, or intention of, engaging in the struggle for hegemony with the United States, and it does not favor hegemony by any state in the world," he said."China's framework is to focus on its national development to seek win-win cooperation with other countries."

The inauguration of US President Joe Biden should be seen as an opportunity to reset China-US relations because win-win cooperation can not only benefit the two sides, but also the world, he said.

"Responsible statesmanship means constraint on having the most accurate view possible of the situation, not of misleading. In attempting to mislead other people, you also mislead yourself."

From his perspective, some good steps have been taken by the Biden administration, such as the country's rejoining of the Paris Agreement on climate change and halting the US withdrawal from the World Health Organization. However, there are some "negative signs" regarding China-US relations, Ross said, quoting a statement from Secretary of State Antony Blinken of the Biden administration.

Blinken, when he was nominee of the position, told members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Jan 19:"Let me just say that I also believe that President Trump was right in taking a tougher approach to China. I disagree, very much with the way that he went about it in a number of areas, but the basic principle was the right one, and I think that's actually helpful to our foreign policy."

Ross said, "That style of statement is not helpful."

As the world is experiencing an economic downturn which is much worse than the one caused by the global financial crisis 13 years ago, Ross said, what all countries, including the United States, should be doing is "seeking to benefit from the growth in China".

Statistics show that China was the only major economy to register positive economic growth last year, while the US economy contracted by 3.6 percent and the Eurozone's shrank by 7.4 percent, contributing to a global economic pullback of 4.3 percent, according to the World Bank. These facts mean that China has become the motor of world economic growth to a degree, which is actually, in the short term, quite extraordinary, Ross said.

"China would obviously benefit greatly from increasing trade and investment with other countries, and other countries would gain from the very rapid growth of China's economy."

Ross said one of the important benefits is the China-European Union investment deal, which was reached last month."The Cold War policy is so damaging; even some of the United States' closest allies will not go along with this policy because it's against their own country's interests," he said.

"So therefore, it's much to be hoped that the United States will see this and adopt a 'win-win' approach, to use the Chinese phrase, in that situation," he added.

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