Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Worst scenario to be avoided

By Yiwei Wang (China Daily) Updated: 2014-11-10 08:18

Fourth, China and the US also have different roadmaps of how to build a new type of relations. The US considers it to be an aspiration for China to achieve, not a task for both, and it favors a process that starts with individual issues that it decides on. China, however, considers it quite urgent to do so and has divided the process into three parts based on its assessment of strategic trust between the two countries. This comprises a suspicion-eliminating stage, a trust-accumulating stage and a habit-formation stage.

Fifth, China believes that difficulties and differences can be overcome and a new type of relations formed with hard work, but in the US it is merely a political slogan. Nonetheless, Americans are less anxious about the possible consequences of a failure to build a new type of relations than the Chinese, who fear that there is much to lose since the historical tragedy identified by Thucydides may reoccur.

Some suggest China is using the concept of a new type of relations between great powers to buy time in order to develop its comprehensive strength, but China is merely trying to erase strategic distrust, forge consensus, and facilitate common actions.

The differences and misunderstandings that stand in the way of establishing a new type of great power relations between China and the US need to be resolved. Whether a new type of relations acceptable to both can be built or not, will determine the fundamental trends of international politics and the world order. US President Barack Obama is soon to meet Chinese President Xi again, and this meeting is an opportunity to narrow the gaps that exist between the two countries.

The author is a professor with the School of International Studies and director of the Institute of International Affairs, Renmin University of China.

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