China, US to seek common interests: analysts

Updated: 2012-11-20 14:19


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BEIJING - The world's two biggest economies will cooperate to seek more common interests despite competition and potential conflicts, Chinese and US experts have said.

Their comments came with China unveiling its new leadership lineup for the next five years last Thursday and Barack Obama's re-election as US president a week earlier.

Both situations are sure to impact Sino-US relations, clearly one of the world's most important dynamics. They could also have a far-reaching effect on the world order.

Policy continuity

Analysts said neither of the two events will lead to substantial changes in the two countries' foreign policies toward each other.

"It is almost certain that the Obama administration's China policy will not undergo drastic change in its second term," said Wang Feng, director of the Brookings-Tsinghua Center for Public Policy at China's Tsinghua University.

"Obama's Asia pivot strategy will be extended and implemented in the next four years," Wang said, adding that Washington will also be committed to maintaining domestic economic growth.

Policy continuity has also been stressed on the Chinese side. In his keynote report to the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), Hu Jintao, who is Chinese president, reiterated that the country will improve and grow its relations with developed countries by expanding areas of cooperation and properly addressing differences with them.

"We will strive to establish a new type of relations of long-term stability and sound growth with other major countries," he vowed in the report, which is expected to guide China's domestic and foreign policies in the next five years.

Competition and conflicts

Although observers maintain that the new generation of Chinese leaders has a broad international horizon and will show more flexibility in handling the country's relations with the United States, experts have also warned that competition and ensuing conflicts are unavoidable.

"It is expected that competition and potential frictions between the two countries will continue or intensify in sectors including trade and investment, intellectual property, technological innovation and currency policy in the future," Wang told Xinhua.

Chen Jidong, an international relations professor at China's Sichuan University, said competition between the United States and China would  become more distinct.

"As a wary United States is still containing and watching out for a rising China, competition and conflicts of interest will be inevitable," he said.

Optimistic academics, however, suggest that the substantial interdependence and extensive shared interests between the two countries will coordinate their competition and cushion any negative impact to some extent.

Interwoven interests

Thirty-three years after they established diplomatic ties, China and the United States are now each other's second-largest trading partner. As the largest foreign US creditor, China is also the largest exporter in the world while the United States is the largest importer.

"Compared with 30 years ago, we now have quite broad common interests: in the global economy, nuclear non-proliferation and climate change, all these areas," said Orville Schell, Arthur Ross director of the Center on US-China Relations at Asia Society in New York.

He believes that for the sake of common interests, the two countries have to negotiate and discuss on many different levels.

Nathan Gardels, editor-in-chief at current affairs journal New Perspectives Quarterly, urged China and the United States to work together globally.

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