US and China should work to dispel dark clouds over ties

Washington should join Beijing in upholding principles of mutual respect, peaceful co-existence and win-win cooperation, and exploring the right way to get along in the new era.

2 mins read
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen testifies during a Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., the United States, on Sept. 28, 2021. (Matt McClain/Pool via Xinhua)

A rainbow was seen across the sky after a sudden shower when U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen landed in Beijing on Thursday for a high-stakes visit.

That is both a good sign and a reminder. For China-U.S. relations, which are at a historic low point, to break through rainstorms and embrace sunshine, both countries should work together in the same direction.

Yellen’s much-watched trip follows U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s two-day stop in Beijing in June. Prior to her visit, Beijing and Washington have recently materialized a series of positive interactions, creating conditions for talks at more levels. These signs help shore up confidence that the momentum of communication and coordination is there.

But for that momentum to retain and grow, people should bear in mind that acts of short-sightedness and a Cold-War mindset will easily damage any progress already made to rekindle bilateral ties.

Both sides see the necessity to forge mutually beneficial economic and trade relations. To this end, politicians should see the bigger picture of China-U.S. ties, and avoid viewing this relationship through the lens of competition.

A report earlier this month by U.S. news website Axios found that Corporate America still loves China, and economic imperatives are luring a steady stream of American business and tech moguls to China, including most recently, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon, and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.

Pushing for so-called “de-risking,” another version of decoupling, would not fool the Chinese side to believe the United States has given up its efforts to contain China. The United States, despite repeatedly clamoring for it, cannot afford an economic decoupling from China, because it is “disastrous,” as Yellen warned months ago.

Over the past year, the treasury secretary has frequently hinted at her willingness to visit China. The two nations “can and need to find a way to live together” despite strained ties over certain issues, she said.

But that starts with Washington reviewing its unfair tariff policies and ditching its lose-lose protectionist practices.

The harm arising from tariffs imposed by the former Trump administration was “widespread, significant and counterproductive,” the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations has found.

The tariffs on China “not only failed to achieve their objectives, but have hurt U.S. businesses and consumers along the way,” it said.

Yellen’s visit comes at a time when Washington is intensifying its tech blockade against China, and fraying ties between the top two economies are roiling global markets.

Days before her visit, China announced export restrictions on industrial products and materials containing gallium and germanium. Though Beijing has made it clear that the measure does not target any specific country, the decision is widely seen as a countermeasure to mounting U.S. high-tech restrictions under the pretext of baseless security grounds.

It is unproductive when the United States is posturing for dialogue and communication, while tightening its block and containment against China. China will not accept a bullying offer.

Perhaps, few in Washington seem to see more clearly than Yellen the importance of the U.S.-China economic bond. Americans “benefit greatly” from buying goods that are cheaper from China, she told the House Financial Services Committee in June. China equally benefits from U.S. exports that also bolster the U.S. economy.

Over the decades, cooperation in various sectors has generated great benefits for both the Chinese and American people. And despite bilateral tensions and decoupling rhetoric, goods trade between the two countries hit a record 690.6 billion U.S. dollars in 2022, U.S. official data showed.

The two countries enjoy extensive economic complementarity and intermingled interests. The respective success of the United States and China constitutes opportunities rather than challenges to each other.

As the world’s top two economies, China and the United States are also responsible to strengthen macroeconomic policy coordination, and adopt responsible and predictable macroeconomic policies.

It’s therefore hoped that the United States will prudently handle its interest rate policy and sovereign debt issue to prevent negative spillovers to other countries.

There is no doubt that a stable and sound China-U.S. relationship is in the interests of the whole world. Thus Washington should join Beijing in upholding principles of mutual respect, peaceful co-existence and win-win cooperation, and exploring the right way to get along in the new era. That is how the two sides can ultimately dispel the dark storms still gathering over their relations.

Xinhua News Agency

Founded in 1931, Xinhua News Agency is one of the largest news organizations in the world, with over 10,000 employees across the globe. As the main source of news and information for China, Xinhua plays a key role in shaping the country's media landscape and communicating its perspectives to the world. The agency produces a wide range of content, including text news articles, photos, videos, and social media posts, in both Chinese and English, and its reports are widely used by media organizations around the world. Xinhua also operates several international bureaus, including in key capitals like Washington, D.C., Moscow, and London, to provide in-depth coverage of global events.

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