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Analysts: Fundamentals of China-US ties will not change

Author  :  Wang Xiaozhen     Source  :    Chinese Social Sciences Today     2016-12-19

Commenting on the future course of the China-US relationship after the electoral victory of Donald Trump, scholars predicted at a recent forum that the fundamentals of bilateral ties will remain unchanged.

The 18th Peking University Guanghua New Year Forum was held on Dec. 10 in Beijing under the theme “The Changing Landscape of Globalization and Opportunities and Challenges for China.”

Cai Hongbin, dean of the Guanghua School of Management at Peking University, noted that the year 2008 was a turning point for the development of human society from a golden stage to a problem-ridden era.

Although eight years have passed since the 2008 financial crisis, the world has yet to come out of the woods, Cai said. As the global economy continues to recover at a slow pace, unprecedented challenges to globalization have emerged, including gloomy employment prospects, a widening wealth gap and escalating terrorism.

Despite remarkable results, globalization has also impacted the political environments of some countries, challenging international cooperation and exchanges, said He Yafei, former vice-minister of foreign affairs.

To understand globalization, one must first establish what will change and what will not, He said.

In terms of what will not change, He said that the march of globalization will continue unabated, the trend of shared global governance by the East and the West will last, and there will not be a third world war.

For the other question, He said the United States has changed a lot. While globalization has engaged and benefited an increasing number of countries, and developing nations are catching up, the wealth gap remains excessive and conflicts between different strata are intensifying in the United States.

Under such circumstances, the United States desires to alter the rules of globalization and change the balance of interests, He added.

He noted that the changes in globalization are defined by many as “de-globalization,” “anti-globalization,” or “retrogression from globalization,” which are simple and one-sided.

“We need to view the globalization issue from the perspective of Marxist historical materialism and dialectics because the world, including globalization, will never develop in a linear manner,” He said. Despite ups and downs, reversals, and different stages, it moves forward as a whole.

The current variations can be interpreted as a new stage of globalization that needs to be reconstructed and adjusted to, He said.

In the new world context and globalization situation, scholars are concerned with how China and the United States, the two largest economies in the world, should handle bilateral relations and improve the global governance system through cooperation.

David Rank, deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy in Beijing, said that the fundamentals of China-US relations will be “similar in all administrations,” and bilateral cooperation in multiple fields will continue, though it is difficult to predict what the policies and guidelines of the United States will be like after Trump takes office.

Trump is inexperienced diplomatically and has raised many contradictory views on foreign policy questions during the course of the campaign, so “we shouldn’t take his rhetoric of the campaign at face value,” said William Kirby, a professor at Harvard Business School, through a video speech.

Kirby expressed the hope that Trump could deliver on his promise to lead the United States to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

Since Trump promised to create jobs for the United States, it is necessary to encourage foreign investment, including Chinese investments, Kirby said.

He Yafei agreed with the view regarding the fundamentals of China-US relations, but he pointed out a few noteworthy issues in the development of bilateral ties.

He said trade friction is likely to increase in business and trade, and China-US ideological clashes might decrease or become secondary. There are few scenarios in which the two countries would likely confront each other militarily, but their contradictions will probably not subside either, He added.

 

Editor: Ma Yuhong

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