Accentuate the positive in Sino-US relations

Updated: 2016-02-16 08:12

By Tao Wenzhao(China Daily)

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And the US will continue to pursue the Association of Southeast Asian Nations' members to take part in the TPP, so as to further isolate China. And the Obama administration will also step up cooperation with the Philippines this year.

The US is increasing its pressure on China through these measures, and also telling the countries involved in the South China Sea disputes that its promise counts.

There is a wide debate in the US about its China policy, which is now at its largest and deepest since 1989.Hardliners think that since former president Richard Nixon's ice-breaking visit to China, the US' policy toward China has been a failure. They think it is impossible to contain China, and the US president should reduce his contacts with China and strengthen and the country's vigilance against China. This hard-line approach would cause fundamental changes in Sino-US relations and cause the US heavy losses. Most, however, believe the US should continue its current policy. Though there are some stressing the necessity of complying with or yielding to China's requirements.

The fact is the two countries' cooperation is extending to more and more fields. China and the US have played indispensable roles in spurring the international community to reach agreements on the Iran nuclear issue and climate change. The US needs China to play a bigger role in the Middle East and Afghanistan. And the two countries hope to make breakthroughs in the negotiations on the Bilateral Investment Treaty this year, which would be meaningful to the two countries' economic restructuring and growth.

China and the US should rethink how to get along with each other, with the fast increase of China's national power and international influence. Although China is a developing country, its economic size is far larger than other developing countries. Indeed, China seems not to be a developing country, considering its position in foreign trade and its large foreign exchange reserve. And with China finding the space for it in the current international system increasingly insufficient to meet its needs, it is demonstrating an ever stronger will to reform the international system and starting to provide more and more mechanisms, concepts and public goods to the international community. Sino-US relations are more complicated than any previous major-power relations in history. The two countries will compete in cooperation, and cooperate in competition. The US needs to adjust its mentality. It will not lead the world as it did in the 20th century, and should not be afraid of China's rise. If the US can adapt to the changes taking place in the world, it will maintain long-term prosperity. It is difficult, but a must.

The author is a researcher in US studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. The article was first published on

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