Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - US, China can avoid confrontation




US, China can avoid confrontation

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis (left) shakes hands with his Chinese counterpart General Wei Fenghe during a meeting on the sidelines of the Asean security summit in Singapore on October 18. AFP

US, China can avoid confrontation

China Daily/ANN: In Annoucing he will meet with his Chinese counterpart this week, US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said competition does not necessarily mean hostility. That statement deserves heeding by some of his colleagues in the Donald Trump administration.

There is a rough consensus in Beijing that the present turn in US-China strategy is not entirely of the US president’s making. But that does not alter the fact that Trump seems willing to see how the scheme that his strategists have come up with plays out.

In a flip to the ping-pong diplomacy that aimed to isolate the former Soviet Union, Washington has not only labelled China as the foremost rival of the US, it is also seeking to drive a wedge between Beijing and Moscow.

Just last week, US National Security Adviser John Bolton reportedly claimed Chinese missiles threaten the “Russian heartland”, and called for talks with Russia about Chinese activities.

It is part of the bid by the US administration to alienate China from those countries that have friendly relationships with it, a tactic that is now in full swing.

On Friday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took a swipe at the Belt and Road Initiative, accusing China of using it to build a “treasury-run empire” by bribing foreign leaders “in exchange for infrastructure projects that will harm the people of that nation”.

That was not the first time the top US diplomat has gone on the offensive in this way. In Southeast Asia and Latin America, he cautioned against Chinese investments. He is now leading a US government project to counteract the “Belt and Road” by mobilising private-sector investments.

These, and the scurrilous speech by US Vice-President Mike Pence earlier this month, show that the Donald Trump administration are doubling down on their assault on the Chinese economy. Indeed the rising frictions between the two countries have raised concerns that the trade frictions may be merely the precursor to a broader confrontation.

Beijing has continually sought to defuse the tensions and avert the new Cold War that many are predicting. With almost every statement of resolve to counter US threats, Beijing has simultaneously indicated willingness to negotiate.

Although Washington has shown no reciprocal inclination to talk, Beijing’s portrayal of bilateral trade as being beneficial to both countries is accurate. Its appeal for crisis management is also sincere.

Washington should be sensible about their competition, which is unavoidable in more and more fields in the global context. It should accept the emerging reality and adapt to it. This may be the only way to prevent the competition from becoming antagonistic.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Kingdom one of safest to visit in Covid-19 era’

    The Ministry of Tourism on January 12 proclaimed Cambodia as one of the safest countries to visit in light of the Kingdom having been ranked number one in the world by the Senegalese Economic Prospective Bureau for its success in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. In rankings

  • Kingdom accepts Chinese vaccine, PM first to get jab

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said China would offer Cambodia an immediate donation of one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by the Sinopharm company. In an audio message addressing the public on the night of January 15, he said Cambodia has accepted the offer and

  • Reeling in Cambodia’s real estate sector

    A new norm sets the scene but risks continue to play out in the background A cold wind sweeps through the streets of Boeung Trabek on an early January morning as buyers and traders engage in commerce under bright blue skies. From a distance, the

  • Hun Sen: Lakes filled in for national developments

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced continued operations to fill some lakes in Phnom Penh to create land for developments, though he is against the unrelated practice of damming rivers or blocking waterways. Speaking at the inauguration of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport

  • Koh Preus upgrades 70% complete

    Initial construction of a nearly $30 million tourism infrastructure project on Preah Sihanouk province’s Koh Preus Island is “about 70 per cent complete”, according to an official with the developer. Heng Thou, construction site manager of Angela Real Estate Co Ltd (ARE), told The Post that

  • Local media loses a giant, and The Post a great friend

    Cheang Sokha, a gifted and streetwise reporter who rose to the highest ranks of Cambodian media and was beloved for his sharp intelligence, world-class humour and endless generosity, died on Friday in his hometown of Phnom Penh. He was 42. His wife, Sok Sophorn, said he