Call for China and US to make efforts to avoid ‘total breakdown’ in relations

04-Jun-2020 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

A prominent Chinese foreign policy expert has called for Beijing and Washington to make efforts to prevent a “total breakdown” in their bilateral relations, saying China should still buy American agricultural products and allow US brands such as Apple in its market.

In a commentary in state tabloid Global Times on Tuesday, Wang Jisi, a professor with the School of International Studies at Peking University, said the two nations must maintain their economic, military and people-to-people exchanges to avoid a collapse in ties.

“There are now worries that if Sino-US relations are out of control, the post-pandemic recovery will be more difficult, and the arms race and geopolitical conflicts will intensify, causing chaos in the world order and unprecedented disasters. This is by no means an impossible scenario,” Wang wrote.

Relations between the two powers have sunk to a new low amid the coronavirus pandemic, with officials from both sides trading accusations over the handling and origin of the virus. Observers have warned of a new Cold War, with some hawkish voices calling for decoupling of the world’s two biggest economies.

Last week, the US said it would end Hong Kong’s special trade status after China’s legislature approved a resolution to impose a national security law in the city. Beijing has yet to respond after earlier threatening retaliation.

Wang said as tensions escalated, efforts were needed in several areas.

“No matter how serious the differences between the two countries, we must resolve them through peaceful means and not resort to war,” Wang said.

“There is no denying that the two countries’ militaries are preparing for war and they are treating each other as the opposing force… but luckily [their] defence departments have maintained relatively close contact despite [the] deteriorating political relations.”

Wang also called for China to fulfil its trade promise to purchase more agricultural products, particularly soybeans, as a way to stabilise economic ties.

“Take soybeans as an example, there is a huge need in the Chinese market as 80 per cent of the soybean supply is imported,” he wrote. “If the American farmers are willing to produce and sell them at a reasonable price, why don’t we make bulk purchases according to the phase one trade deal?”

Wang also cited American brands with business ties in China, including Apple, Starbucks and Walmart, saying there was no reason to ban them.

“If Apple phones could not be bought and used in China because of poor China-US relations, it would be unbearable to consumers,” he wrote.

“In recent years, China has introduced a lot of measures to open its economy and welcome foreign investment. These are the countermeasures and they are not a compromise to reverse the policy trend of the US.”

On financial ties, Wang said while “China will not want to see the dominance of the US dollar forever”, there was a need for China to continue holding “a certain level” of US debt and respect the status of the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency.

Wang also called for the two countries to continue their people-to-people exchanges, which he called “one of the last pillars” of US-China relations.

“We need to prevent the total breakdown of bilateral exchanges,” he wrote. “It is only a matter of time and chance for Sino-US relations to return to a normal track.”


Category: China

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