'Nightmare' incompatible with future China-US relations

Updated: 2015-01-29 15:49


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BEIJING -- As the United States gears up for yet another presidential race, American analysts have started to project the future course of China-US relations.

A signed article carried by The Diplomat said that Hillary Clinton, a widely anticipated runner for the top position, is a tough figure on China relations, given her previous role as secretary of state.

It then went on to predict that bilateral ties will face "a more confrontational environment," and that 2016 "could turn out to be the start of a nightmare" for China.

Given the differences between the two heavyweights, ups and downs are inevitable and only natural, but the nightmare scenario is a wild guess. China-US interaction, which is evolving into a new type of major-country relations, is unlikely to retrogress because of a change of guard at the helm.

After decades of mutually beneficial cooperation, the world's two largest economies enjoy growing common interests in all areas. Even a tough leader cannot upset the fundamental basis of bilateral ties.

Whoever is able to win the White House in 2016 will be clear-eyed enough to grasp the mainstream of bilateral relations. Only by working with Beijing can Washington protect its long-term interests and continue to play a leading role in world affairs.

A confrontational posture, on the contrary, will have far-reaching negative impact. Washington's so-called pivot to Asia has actually emboldened a few Asian countries to pick up fights with China over territorial disputes, causing regional instability.

Nevertheless, the two countries share more consensuses than differences. They are exploring closer ties by enhancing military cooperation, negotiating a historic bilateral investment treaty, and facilitating the exchange of students and tourists.

Instead of a so-called "trial," 2016 will usher in new opportunities for lifting bilateral relations, and the new US president will find a stronger partner in China's more mature leadership.

Public perception, however, sometimes deviates from the reality of bilateral relations. American politicians are adept at China-bashing in election campaigns as a political maneuver. But such kind of campaign rhetoric cannot be taken as promises for action once they win the White House.

In the meantime, news writers and observers will roll out various forecasts of the future path of China-US engagement. Regrettably, the plain truth makes no eye-catching headline like that of The Diplomat article.

But truth is truth. Despite occasional doubts and frictions, the two countries will work together to take bilateral cooperation to the next level.