Cooperation with China is in US' interests
Updated: 2014-04-16 08:00
By Wang Yinghui (China Daily USA)
Many Chinese people think that the real purpose of the United States' rebalancing to Asia-Pacific strategy is to contain China, thus leading to more conflicts between China and the US. And the US' support of its allies in the region in their territorial disputes with China is believed to be the cause of much of the tension and frictions between China and its neighbors, such as Japan and the Philippines.
It is believed by many Chinese scholars that the US is trying to contain, or at least hedge China from growing too fast and replacing the US as the No 1 global power, thus challenging the US dominance and hegemony in the world.
It is reasonable, from the US perspective, to rebalance towards China so as to maintain its predominance of power in the world. Rebalancing toward the Asia-Pacific is believed, by the US leadership and academia, to be in the fundamental interest of the US. Therefore, if China wants a better and regional environment, and a more cooperative US, it needs to convince its American friends that, instead of rebalancing and containing China, cooperation with China in the region is in the interests of the US. The arguments can include the following:
First, the US does not have a very effective way to contain China or delay its development. China's continuous rise in the past 30 years has proved this, and China has the capability and determination to achieve its peaceful rise and national revitalization.
Second, China has no intention of challenging the US' interests in the Asia-Pacific, or even driving the US out of the region. China needs the US' cooperation in the region to maintain regional stability and prosperity, which will contribute to China's stable economic and social development.
Third, if China is pushed too much into a corner, it has no choice but to respond with countermeasures, which will seriously and negatively affect the US' interests in the region, and disrupt the US hegemony. However, if the two countries can cooperate and respect each other, the US could sustain its hegemony longer.
Fourth, China and the US are so economically entangled and interdependent that neither of them can afford the cost of isolating and confronting each other, and neither of them can single-handedly resolve the global issues without the support of the other side.
Fifth, rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific could negatively affect the US influence in other regions, and it would see the decline of US power in Europe, Africa and Middle East, which is already happening. In some parts of the world, some regional order arrangements established by the US have been disrupted or are now malfunctioning.
Sixth, the rebalancing strategy has constraints imposed by other regional countries, even the US' allies. For example, the ASEAN countries do not want to see a conflict between China and US, as the last thing they want to do is take sides between the US and China. It is in the interest of the ASEAN countries that the US and China cooperate, as they benefit from both of them.
Therefore, cooperation between China and US will create a win-win situation for the two countries, while conflict and confrontation will harm both of them. China should persuade the US that it is in the interests of the US to respect and cooperate with China. Just as Chinese President Xi Jinping has pointed out, "the Pacific Ocean is big enough to accommodate both China and the United States". China welcomes the US playing a constructive role in the Asia-Pacific region.
The author is with the National Defense University of the Chinese People's Liberation Army.
(China Daily USA 04/16/2014 page11)