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Apr 16

Real threats to China-US relations

Written by guest on Saturday, April 16th, 2011 at 8:49 am
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By BI Yantao

allvoices.com, Mar 05, 2011

In the coming decades, the China-US relations will be deteriorating if the US doesn’t adjust its strategic positioning. It seems the Hu-Obama summit held earlier month is unlikely to dramatically ease the tensions between the two countries, let alone change the trajectory. In my eyes, one major threat to the U.S. determination to maintain its global hegemony.

To a great degree, China’s assertiveness is the result of the wishful thinking by some non-Chinese observers. The more determined the US is to maintain its global leadership, the more sensitive it is to China’s growth. It is a new version of a Chinese fable which says one sees a snake when a bow is reflected in a cup full of water. Once you believe China intends to challenge the US global primacy, it is easy to “find” sufficient evidences. In fact, many of the evidences are intentionally or unintentionally fabricated by the observers. A good case in point is that certain American commentators suggest the traditional Chinese culture determines China’s aggressive stance. They cited the example of the implication of “China”, which means “the central kingdom”. This sounds ridiculous to the majority of the Chinese people, because the Chinese people bear in minds the old motto “The moon waxes only to wane, water brims only to overflow”. This partially accounts for Deng Xiaoping’s legacy “Never to be in front”.

Once the US concludes that China is plotting to defy the US, the US is more likely to adopt the strategy to contain China. If China realizes the US is containing it, China will take measures to defend it. Now for many Chinese people, China has been forced to defend itself when the US-led coalition is encircling China. In this context, the US will find further excuses to curb China. One misinterpretation leads to another miscalculation. Understandably, the strategic mistrust between the two countries escalates. It is a spiral of conflicts, which harms the interests of both countries. Unfortunately, this is the case in the Western Pacific region today. In China, many people now believe the US is seeking to contain China even if their governmental officials reiterate that the US welcomes a growing China. To a great extent, the China-US relations is determined by how the US treats China.

Some hardliners in the US may expect to press China to further integrate into the international order designed and led by the US to serve the US interests. Some hawks are so arrogant as to dictate terms to China. They are deadly wrong. In 1900, the Eight-Power Allied Forces invaded China, but China eventually drove them out. I am sure today that the majority of the Chinese people would rather die than surrender. But, is the US today capable to mobilize eight countries to fight against China? I am not sure. Every country knows clearly that the rise of China is unstoppable. When China becomes powerful enough, will China take revenge in certain ways? I am not sure, either. China is far from aggressive, but it is expecting true respect, not only in words, but also in action.

So many problems in China are preventing it from growing into a global leadership: widening social gap, rampant corruption, ecological degradation. The country is richer, but the majority of the people remain poor. Information flow is still restricted, which I believe is a big obstacle to China’s growth. China’s global appeal is so limited while so many people are attempting to immigrate to the US. In a word, China is not so powerful as some outside analysts imagine. So I feel puzzled: How could China challenge the US leadership? Is it a strategy for American politicians to achieve national unity and enhance its legitimacy? If it is the case, the implication is dangerous. No country can be perfect. No country can maintain its primacy forever. In case some day the US lags behind other countries in more fields, how could the American people fit into the new environment? How could the US government legitimize itself then? So, we must keep vigilant: Who is fabricating “China threat”? And why?

(BI Yantao is President of World Society for Strategic Communication, and Director for Center for Communication Studies, Hainan University, China.)

http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/8382093-real-threats-to-chinaus-relations


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11 Responses to “Real threats to China-US relations”

  1. Taoist Says:

    Just a ploy to legitimise the funding for its military complex. Pentagon runs the USA, really. Who needs a central government without threats?

  2. Temujin Says:

    Yantao just like any other chinese think other people are stupid and do not understand your true motives and intentions.

    Just ask yourself few simple questions: Why military build up when there is no threat to china? why claim the entire South China sea as your own which it belong to countries surrounding it? Why claim the Senkaku Islands and you know they are not your? What’s next few years from now? Australia is your too?

    The people of the world includes Singaporean and few healthy oversea chinese understand that China cannot be trust. They are threat to regional security and the world peace.

  3. Whatever Says:

    Thankfully, there are some good analysts out there

    http://atimes.com/atimes/China/MD13Ad02.html

  4. A-gu Says:

    First and foremost, observers seeing more aggressive Chinese behavior cite the uptick in military or border incidents over the years, not ancient Chinese culture. As China’s military has strengthened, it has taken more assertive and aggressive postures over US activity in international waters, or against neighbors in defending its claims to the Senkaku Islands, Taiwan or other territorial issues.

    Likewise, even if the US were exerting a “containment” strategy against China, by definition they are not attacking or provoking China; rather they are limiting Chinese expansion. This hardly seems like a strategy that China needs to “defend” itself against, unless its aims are expansionist; that would likely negatively effect the US-Japan or US-Australia relationships, not to mention other US strategic interests.

    In summary, expansionist or aggressive Chinese behavior could harm China-US relations, but I see little imperative for the US to “adjust its strategic positioning.” Ultimately, preventing any nation from expanding (especially violently) is the US’s strategy to maintain peace and stability in the Asian Pacific.

    However, I will not make excuses for hardliners in the US who find every reason to start new wars and would happily start one with China. War mongers should be condemned everywhere.

    Nor will I excuse US global hegemony, which I believe to be immoral and contrary to the US national interest. Ideally, the US would not have places like Japan under their nuclear umbrella. But while they do they must treat attacks on Japanese territory as attacks on US territory.

  5. pug_ster Says:

    Why not? China probably spends most of its money on wages on the troops themselves. While the US says that they use their military for ‘defensive’ purposes, they invaded more countries within the last 60 years than any country in history, while China hasn’t invaded any country within the last 30 years.

    The other day I heard a wannabe US presidential candidate Donald Trump who openly says that we should seize oil fields in Libya. As long as there are war happy US making up excuses to ‘liberate’ others so they can steal their oil, China will spend its money on its military.

    Most importantly, China probably learned from history. One of the reasons for the downfall of the Qing Empire was that they are fat and lazy and didn’t bother to modernize its military thinking that other countries would not invade them.

  6. pug_ster Says:

    Japanese Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa recently said that “in order to maintain the right balance in our relationship with China, we need to also solidify the ties between Japan, the US and South Korea.” Can you say “containment?”

  7. Bea Says:

    China, even though richer, have poorer citizens due to their population size. However, there is an even distribution of wealth amonst many Chinese, so their system seems to be working just fine for their people. Also, the Chinese are very powerful and they will continue to grow. They have many dependants outside the US and I really douth the US would attack China. The US is also a big dependant on China. While China enjoys a $185bil surplus, the US is in debt and seeks help from China. If the US attack, China will counter attack and they will have A LOT of support as the US has many enemies. They will never take it lying down, looking at their track record you will notice this. I personally believe that China will be a super power some day and will attain global leadership.

  8. kui Says:

    A peaceful China doing business with almost every single country on the planet is called “aggressive’ ‘expantionist”while the US a country that has been bombing, invading and stationing its troop around the globe is “maintaining peace”. I now know why there is no peace on earth.

  9. James Cannon Says:

    I would have to agree with kui’s comment.

  10. Jonny Van Bomber Says:

    Make no mistake, when China rise to be a power greater than the US in years to come, they will not be so quiet and cumbersome. They are smart and patient and have built up their military so they can expand forcefully. They’ve already started testing the waters of US reaction by being more assertive and one day ‘assertive’ will turn into ‘aggressive’. I don’t trust China one little bit.

  11. Kaiyum Says:

    US is a superpower nation and China is going to become one, i wonder how US will easily give the position to China. It is hard for US and China relationship to be good due to that reason.

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