China-US 'new diplomacy' discussed

Updated: 2015-03-30 05:57

By HUA SHENGDUNin Washington(China Daily USA)

  Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

China-US accommodation in the Asia Pacific region is the top concern in China-US relations for the following decade, said a major Chinese expert on American studies at a Washington-based think tank.

"How to manage China-US accommodation in Asia Pacific so far is something new in bilateral relations. I think this is the most important challenge in the next ten years," Yuan Peng, research professor and vice-president of the Beijing-based China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said at the Wilson Center on Tuesday.

"Given the new diplomacy that we are more assertive in defending our sovereignty and territorial integrity, there are some potential contradictions with America's rebalance to Asia strategy," Yuan said. "So far we don't give any ideal solution to deal with the competition between the US and China, but the good news is that the military-to-military relations in the past several years is in the best period in the past 20 years."

The White House issued the 2015 National Security Strategy report on Feb 6, prioritizing its "pivot" to the Asia Pacific, a long-term focus in the US foreign policy and marking the China-US relations as a partnership with a decisive role in the 21st century.

It's a two-part story: With the world and the US in particular "adjusting to, sometimes reacting against and sometimes accommodating China's growing power" and the other of "China's learning to become a major power", said Robert Daly, director of the Kissinger Institute on China and the United States at the Wilson Center.

"I want to emphasize 'learning' because we see changes in strategies and we see adjustments as China goes forward," Daly said.

Vincent Brooks, Commanding General of US Army Pacific, said recently that both sides should "take a step closer and seek a sufficiently sustained dialogue that leads to trust" through military exchanges to prevent miscalculation and misunderstanding.

The Army is "not a direct party" to the regional cooperation, but "an additional channel of communication", Brooks said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies earlier this month. He had attended the 10th Disaster Management Exchange in Haikou off China's Hainan Island this January.

It was sponsored by US Army Pacific and hosted by China's People's Liberation Army. The Hawaii Army National Guard, the US Marine Corps, the US Air Force and the State Department jointly participated.

Yuan also said informal talks, as another round of Sunnyland talks, was expected this year during Chinese President Xi Jinping's first official state visit to the US in September since he took office in 2012. He also forecasted Obama's possible visit to China again in 2016 since the G20 summit would be held in Beijing at that time.

Both Xi and Obama emphasized the importance of increasing military exchanges during their meetings in California in June 2013 and in Beijing last November.

During Obama's visit to Beijing in November, two new military agreements were reached to avert military confrontations in Asia, one on notifying each other of major activities, such as military exercises, and the other on rules of behavior for encounters both at sea and in the air.

"We've modernized our alliances in the Asia-Pacific, updated our defense posture and recently agreed to improve communications between the US and Chinese militaries," Obama said previously.

Zhai Kun, professor at the Peking University School of International Studies, said the Xi-initiated principles of "no conflict, no confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation" in the new type of major power relations between China and the US could also apply to the Asia Pacific region.

China's new diplomacy of four norms — self-restraint, mutual adaptation, conflict management and shared responsibility — could be applied as the common doctrine of the Asia Pacific region, and it would be "beneficial for the dual-track pattern in the Asia-Pacific region to evolve and develop towards increasing integration", Zhai said.

"If China and the US could, via the platforms such as ASEAN Regional Forum, explore and discuss the topic with other Asia Pacific countries, it will certainly be of greater constructive significance," he added.

Sheng Yang in Washington contributed to this story.