“When the United States first engaged with China in the 1970s, I worked for (then the US President’s National Security Affairs Assistant) Henry Kissinger. The following is what I think China and the United States still have a chance to repair relations. reason.”
On May 24 local time, former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Hormats wrote an article titled on the website of the U.S. “Fortune” magazine, saying that although people have been pessimistic about the prospects for improving Sino-U.S. relations for a long time, But recently there have been some signs of progress.
As a witness to the normalization of Sino-US relations, Hormats believes that both China and the United States will benefit from the recent series of high-level dialogues. He urged the United States not to regard its relations with China as a zero-sum game, not to try to challenge the systems and cultures of other countries, but to seek to establish a pragmatic and constructive bilateral relationship.
Hormats said that if wisely used, the talks between China and the United States will allow the two countries to better understand each other’s basic goals, clarify what each believes are the main differences and important interests, and find ways to build respect and trust. He mentioned that after the birth of a new leadership team in China last year and the change of control of the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this year, such talks are especially important, as both sides can take the opportunity to understand each other and develop relations.
Hormats first pointed out that the United States cannot organize and manage bilateral relations and the so-called new global order on the basis of continued tension with China, nor can it regard this process as a zero-sum game, let alone try to challenge or criticize other countries through rhetoric. The legitimacy of a country’s governance system to accomplish its policy objectives. There are profound differences in the history, culture and political systems of China and the United States, which must be recognized and respected.
In his view, for a productive future relationship, the United States must respect the culture and institutions of each country and seek reasonable goals. For example, hindering China’s economic growth is not a realistic or constructive option for Washington. He believes that China has the technological capabilities and human skills to maintain substantial growth for a long time to come, and the technological progress China has made should encourage the United States to strengthen its own STEM education at all levels.
Hormats also pointed out that trying to obstruct the growth of China’s economic relations with other countries is equally unrealistic and not constructive. Most countries, including U.S. allies, are seeking constructive trade and investment relationships with China. For many countries, China is and will continue to be their largest trading partner.
However, Hormats also emphasized that the United States should realize that in the future, China and the United States will not be able to maintain the bilateral relations as they have in the past few decades, and the political confrontation between the two countries on various issues will become more intense. In turn, recognizing these new realities and opportunities can also lay the foundation for a reliable, constructive, and realistic bilateral relationship going forward.
Hormats said that in order to solve some key issues in depth, it is crucial for China and the United States to have higher-intensity and more regular high-level dialogues on this issue. He said that this may not necessarily bring about major changes in a short period of time, and it may take months or even years to make major progress in some areas; constructive frameworks for managing disagreements.
“But at this point, even small changes are welcome.” Hormats recalled that when the Sino-US dialogue first started in the early 1970s, the early talks between China and the United States were more about the broad goals of the two countries than the details , which led to a series of understandings on goals over the next few years. “Our leaders didn’t address everything from the start, and agreement across a wide range of areas lays the groundwork for a future move toward greater normalization.”
The article mentioned that he was “encouraged” by the fact that the current US President’s National Security Affairs Assistant Sullivan and Wang Yi, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and director of the Office of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission, met on the 10th and 11th of this month and discussed many issues of common concern. Bilateral and international issues were exchanged views. Most importantly, both sides agreed to “continue to use this strategic channel of communication well,” Hormats stressed, which was a “healthy step.”
According to the news from the Ministry of Commerce on May 26, Chinese Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao met with US Secretary of Commerce Raimondo in Washington on the 25th local time when he was going to the United States to participate in the APEC Trade Ministers Meeting. The two sides conducted candid, professional and constructive exchanges on Sino-US economic and trade relations and economic and trade issues of common concern. The Chinese side expressed major concerns about the US’s economic and trade policy towards China, semiconductor policy, export control, and foreign investment review. The two sides agreed to establish communication channels to maintain and strengthen exchanges on specific economic and trade concerns and cooperation matters. Next, Wang Wentao will also hold talks with US Trade Representative Dai Qi. This is considered by some public opinion as an “ice-breaking” talk.
Regarding Sino-US relations, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang met with US Ambassador to China Burns in Beijing earlier this month, saying that Sino-US relations are of great significance not only to China and the United States, but also to the world. In November last year, President Xi Jinping and President Biden successfully met in Bali and reached important consensus. However, a series of erroneous words and deeds by the U.S. since then have undermined the hard-won positive momentum of Sino-U.S. relations. The agenda of dialogue and cooperation agreed by the two sides has been disrupted, and the relationship between the two countries has once again hit the ice.
Qin Gang emphasized that the United States should correct its understanding of China, return to rationality, fasten the first button of Sino-US relations, and achieve mutual success in the better development of the two countries. It is not possible to talk about communication on the one hand, but to keep suppressing and containing China on the other hand. You cannot say one thing and do another. We must respect China’s bottom line and red line, and stop undermining China’s sovereignty, security, and development interests. In particular, we must correctly handle the Taiwan issue, stop hollowing out the one-China principle, and stop supporting and condoning “Taiwan independence” separatist forces. It is necessary to persist in handling unexpected incidents in the relationship between the two countries in a calm, professional and pragmatic manner, so as to avoid another impact on Sino-US relations. We should promote dialogue and cooperation on the basis of mutual respect, reciprocity and mutual benefit.