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

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro

  • ACLEDA, WU to enable global money transfers

    Cambodia's largest commercial bank by total assets ACLEDA Bank Plc and global money transfer firm Western Union (WU) have partnered to offer customers cross-border money transfers to 200 countries via “ACLEDA mobile” app. In Channy, president and group managing director of ACLEDA, said the June 22 agreement

  • Aeon, Micromax partner again for third mall

    AEON Mall (Cambodia) Co Ltd and a locally-owned Micromax Co Ltd have entered into a partnership agreement to develop fibre optic infrastructure for $200 million Aeon Mall 3, which is expected to be opened in 2023. The agreement was signed on June 20 between Masayuki Tsuboya, managing director of

  • Walmart plans to diversify stock of Cambodia goods

    Walmart Inc, the world’s biggest retailer, on June 22 reiterated recent plans to scale up and greatly diversify its purchases of Cambodian products, according to the labour ministry. This came during a virtual working meeting between Minister of Labour and Vocational Training Ith Samheng and