Chinatopix RIMPAC 2014 and the Future of Sino-US Military-to-Military Relations Huffington Post In China, participation in RIMPAC 2014 is seen as a concrete achievement in carrying out Xi Jinping's call for stronger U.S.-China military relations.
by Xinhua Writers Gui Tao, Xu Xiaoqing and Luo Jun
BEIJING, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- The world's two biggest economies will cooperate to seek more common interests despite competition and potential conflicts, Chinese and U.S. experts have said.
Their comments came with China unveiling its new leadership lineup for the next five years last Thursday and Barack Obama's re-election as U.S. president a week earlier.
Both situations are sure to impact Sino-US relations, clearly one of the world's most important dynamics. They could also have a far-reaching effect on the world order.
Analysts said neither of the two events will lead to substantial changes in the two countries' foreign policies toward each other.
"It is almost certain that the Obama administration's China policy will not undergo drastic change in its second term," said Wang Feng, director of the Brookings-Tsinghua Center for Public Policy at China's Tsinghua University.
"Obama's Asia pivot strategy will be extended and implemented in the next four years," Wang said, adding that Washington will also be committed to maintaining domestic economic growth.
Policy continuity has also been stressed on the Chinese side. In his keynote report to the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), Hu Jintao, who is Chinese president, reiterated that the country will improve and grow its relations with developed countries by expanding areas of cooperation and properly addressing differences with them.
"We will strive to establish a new type of relations of long-term stability and sound growth with other major countries," he vowed in the report, which is expected to guide China's domestic and foreign policies in the next five years.
COMPETITION AND CONFLICTS
Although observers maintain that the new generation of Chinese leaders has a broad international horizon and will show more flexibility in handling the country's relations with the United States, experts have also warned that competition and ensuing conflicts are unavoidable.
"It is expected that competition and potential frictions between the two countries will continue or intensify in sectors including trade and investment, intellectual property, technological innovation and currency policy in the future," Wang told Xinhua.
Chen Jidong, an international relations professor at China's Sichuan University, said competition between the United States and China would become more distinct.
"As a wary United States is still containing and watching out for a rising China, competition and conflicts of interest will be inevitable," he said.
Optimistic academics, however, suggest that the substantial interdependence and extensive shared interests between the two countries will coordinate their competition and cushion any negative impact to some extent.
Thirty-three years after they established diplomatic ties, China and the United States are now each other's second-largest trading partner. As the largest foreign U.S. creditor, China is also the largest exporter in the world while the United States is the largest importer.
"Compared with 30 years ago, we now have quite broad common interests: in the global economy, nuclear non-proliferation and climate change, all these areas," said Orville Schell, Arthur Ross director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations at Asia Society in New York.
He believes that for the sake of common interests, the two countries have to negotiate and discuss on many different levels.
Nathan Gardels, editor-in-chief at current affairs journal New Perspectives Quarterly, urged China and the United States to work together globally.
"Whether it's global warming, financial stability, keeping free trade, open trade, the important thing is that the United States and China have a long strategic view of their common interests," he told Xinhua.
"Conflict is possible. It's what happened historically," acknowleged Gardels, who is also a renowned columnist in U.S. and European media. "But hopefully this is a different moment in history because of the interdependence that already exists between the two countries."
Brookings-Tsinghua scholar Wang believes that a "greater intrinsic driving force" is pushing forward the Sino-US relations.
"Both of them need to maintain an international environment that is conducive to them," he said. "Common interests like this will help shape relations between the two countries.
"If they can adapt to the driving force and take responsibilities together, that would have a positive impact on the whole world."
According to experts, China has developed a strong awareness of linking its own interests with those of the world.
Their observation is supported by Hu Jintao's reports to the National Congress, in which he said human beings share a community of common destiny and a country should promote common development of all nations when advancing itself.
"You can see China's resolution to seek common interests with other countries," said Su Changhe, an international relations professor at China's Fudan University.
"It is fair to say that China will pay more attention to tap common interests and common values with the United States," he added.
In his visit to the United States in February, Xi Jinping, the new general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, said the two countries have "important interwoven interests."
"We should jointly promote global peace, stability and common development, and make the international system a more equitable, just, inclusive and orderly one," he said at a welcoming luncheon in Washington DC.
David Shambaugh, a U.S. professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University, said that for the two governments, the key is to balance competition and cooperation.
"The big challenge for both governments is to manage a competitive relationship and keep it from becoming an adversarial one," in his view.
The U.S. academic believes that both governments and societies need to learn how to manage competition and at the same time try to expand the zone of cooperation.
"In an inter-dependent relationship, neither China nor the United States has any experience historically" because such a situation has never existed before, he explained.
"Although it has never happened, it should not be a zero-sum game," said Fudan University professor Su of the scenario highlighted by Shambaugh.
Other Chinese experts agree that China can rise without the downfall of the United States.
In his book "China In 2020: A New Type of Superpower," Chinese economist Hu Angang posited the theory the country has neither the conditions nor the willingness to replace the United States as the sole leader of the world.
Hu argues that his country will not necessarily have a zero-sum competition with another already existing superpower.
He said China's rise will be rooted in the superiorities of its own system, rather than competition with others in natural resources, markets and military power, the path previoulsy followed by other countries.
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