Sino-US dialogue should shatter illusions

The United States has said that it will pressure China on the yuan exchange rate and the unfair playing field for US enterprises in China, ahead of the third round of the China-US Strategic Economic Dialogue, which is being held in Washington on Monday and Tuesday.

It seems that each time before a Sino-US dialogue the US feels the need to pander to public opinion with a show of this kind of toughness.

How should China respond to such US pressure?

This is an interesting question. On the one hand, China will not let the US tell it what it should and should not do and is clear about sovereignty safeguard issues. On the other hand, the yuan is continuing its appreciation and many of the US’ areas of disagreement with China are gradually being addressed.

Unlike many other countries, China still makes its own decisions. This not only applies to economic frictions, but also to political frictions between the two countries. The US always condemns China’s human rights even though China refuses to intervene in the US’ domestic politics.

China is changing according to its own needs at its own pace.

We sincerely hope that the US will be reasonable and be a country that can understand China’s difficulties when making requests: a country that can put itself in China’s place even as it pursues its own interests. But this is possibly an unrealistic dream since the US seems unwilling to act as a “constructive” critic.

Nevertheless, the US is still the strongest nation in the world and its strength demands respect. Therefore, we should on the one hand refuse to be controlled by the US and on the other hand make reforms. We will not purposely act against the US. China has already demonstrated that it is receptive to any valuable criticism.

However, the US should give up the illusion that China will do whatever it says, just as China should not dream that the US will give it any praise.

Even though the two countries are yet to clearly define their mutual relations, they have already avoided the antagonism that characterized the ties between the US and the former Soviet Union and this is a relatively successful start to developing relations between the two giant countries in 21 century.

As the weaker side, China has more reasons to complain about bilateral frictions than the US, but at the moment it appears that the US is the one with the most grievances.

Some in the US claim that the Sino-US Strategic Economic Dialogue has little meaning. But these people possibly misunderstand Sino-US relations and the significance of the dialogue. China is not challenging the US’ dominant status, but neither is it willing to be an unquestioning lapdog agreeing to the US’ every whim. China will not serve the US’ interests at the cost of sacrificing its own interests.

There appears to be a wall between the door countries but the China-US dialogue can act as a door. 

Edited and translated by Gao Yang

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