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Era of full-on competition between China and US

By ZHENG YONGNIAN | China Daily | Updated: 2021-05-10 07:23
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Chinese staffers adjust US and Chinese flags before the opening session of Sino-US trade negotiations in Beijing, in this Feb 14, 2019 file photo. [Photo/Agencies]

Sino-US relations have undoubtedly entered an era of all-round competition. China should have a clear understanding of that, and it can effectively respond by further integrating itself into the world.

The United States' China policy now can be summarized as "four separations" and "four integrations". On the one hand, it is trying to separate the Communist Party of China from the Chinese people, the CPC from its leadership, the Han people from the ethnic minorities, and the mainlanders from the Chinese who are not living in the mainland, in a bid to divide China from within.

On the other hand, it is attempting to integrate the whole government, the whole society, the whole market and the whole world into its efforts to contain China.

The full competition between the two sides features cooperation, competition, confrontation and conflict.

Working together with the Indo-Pacific countries, the US is trying to prevent China from becoming a maritime power. The US is trying to leverage the South China Sea issue to contain China's maritime influence within "the first island chain".

The US is also attempting to provoke civilizational conflicts between Islam and China in Central Asia and the Middle East.

Taiwan is likely to become a blasting fuse for a war between China and the US, if any. Now the US openly supports Taiwan secessionists' dangerous moves, feeling no qualms about escalating the tensions across the Straits. The Taiwan question is undoubtedly the most sensitive in Sino-US relations.

India has assumed a more important role in the geopolitical thinking of the US, as Washington no longer thinks that Russia, though always a troublemaker to it, will be the third part of the world's triangle.

Nuclear weapons and space competition were the two prominent fronts of the Cold War. As the US wants to start a new Cold War with China, artificial intelligence, especially the militarization of the AI technology, will be made into the new front against China.

As such, China should respond with countermeasures to each move made by the US.

China must open up to the world so as to use the capital market to break through the US' containment. The deeper China integrates into the global system, economically and institutionally, the more difficult the US will find it to isolate China.

China has no reasons not to pay more attention to India. Although China should resolutely fight back if India infringes upon its core interests, the conflicts with India should not be infinite. Russia's role in mediating relations between China and India should not be ignored.

Finally, China must show the world through rules-abiding and rules-making that China and the West can be connected.

-ZHENG YONGNIAN, A RESEARCHER OF POLITICS WITH THE CHINESE UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG

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