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A fresh chance to create long-term stability

By MO JINGXI | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-01-29 10:06
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Da Wei, senior fellow of the Center for International Security and Strategy at Tsinghua University [Photo provided to China Daily]

The China-US relationship is at a new starting point with an opportunity for the two countries to stabilize bilateral ties after "a very difficult period" under the Donald Trump administration, according to an expert on international affairs.

Da Wei, senior fellow of the Center for International Security and Strategy at Tsinghua University, told the Vision China event on Thursday that over the past few years, the Trump administration had taken the wrong direction, and erroneous actions had led to a "severe situation" in China-US relations.

He said he hoped the new US administration pursues a policy that treats the world's second-largest economy in an objective manner over the next four years. "The two countries need to take action in the first month, then the first 100 days, then the first six months and then the first year, because the window of opportunity will not last forever," Da said, noting that the free-fall of bilateral relations can't continue.

In 2017, Trump announced his first national security strategy and called China a "strategic competitor".

However, after that the Trump administration took a more confrontational attitude toward China.

To avoid China and the US engaging in a new "Cold War" or even military conflicts, Da said the two countries should stop finger-pointing and calmly rethink bilateral relations.

He underlined the importance of setting up four mechanisms relating to high-level exchanges, the military and security, economics and trade, and cultural and social interactions to build a solid base to support the long-term relationship.

Da said high-level dialogues between the two sides are very important and should be sustained, even if the two countries encounter fresh difficulties in the future.

In military and security areas, more crisis management and confidence-building measures are required to prevent the two major powers heading toward conflict, Da said.

While economic and trade issues have been the core issues over the past four years, Da said the task for China and the US is to reach an equilibrium between economic interaction and mutual benefit."I think both countries support economic interaction, but at the same time, our economic relations need to make both sides feel satisfied and also feel that they are gaining something out of it," he said.

While engaging in social, cultural and educational cooperation and exchanges, Da said it is important to make both sides feel secure.

If China and the US can make progress in the four areas, the two sides will probably have a mechanism to support long-term stability not only in the next four years, but probably the next 10 years or more, he said.

While it's impossible to ignore the elements of competition in bilateral ties, it should be constructive, healthy and limited, Da said.

"It's not the US-Soviet-style Cold War competition," he said, noting that China has no aspirations for global hegemony, or to replace the institutions, values or systems of the US and the West.

Da also said that the two countries, which are deeply dependent on each other, need to cooperate on regional affairs such as the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue and global concerns like climate change and cyberspace governance.

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