What exactly does Washington want from its containment of China?

Global Times, April 23, 2023 —

China-US relations are in a long dark tunnel that seems to reveal a little light ahead but remains ambiguous.

Relations between the world’s two largest economies are in an unprecedented state of “competition,” according to Washington’s reference, with almost one hundred more mechanisms of contact at every level that the two countries have built up over the past 20 years or so having ground to a halt. The high-level officials of both sides have not met in more than three months.

Washington is blaming China and claiming that China is reluctant to talk. But anyone who understands the situation can hardly find a day when the official and congressional agenda in Washington does not include measures or bills to contain China and sanction Chinese companies. The official rhetoric attacking China and fanning the China threat theory is escalating.

China and the US do need a face-to-face dialogue at a high level. Still, in this atmosphere, Chinese public opinion has become increasingly frustrated with what the two sides are going to talk about and whether the US is sincere.

If we have empty talks repeatedly, and after the talks, Washington returns to its strategic deployment to further contain China, the residual mutual trust between the US and China is likely to be depleted.

Can China-US relations be stable? Another question that needs to be addressed first is what exactly does the US want from its competition with China.

US officials have been referring to the competition as “healthy,” the latest official expression appearing in a speech by Treasury Secretary Yellen on April 20.

If the competition is only about Washington’s emphasis on US global economic, technological and scientific leadership, then it is an “internal issue.” Washington can take full advantage of its leadership ability and even copy China’s practice of mobilizing national efforts to consolidate its leadership.

But the competition is seriously distorted.

The US is tripping and using concealed weapons against the Chinese runners who are running their own track, throwing stones and nails at the Chinese track, and even going so far as to move the knife.

On the Taiwan question, the US has deviated from its commitment to the one-China principle, using armed, political, and economical means to support Taiwan independence and undermine the status quo, and then backtracking by falsely claiming that the mainland “has created regional instability.”

And look at all the nasty tactics used by Washington around the world to besiege and crack down on Chinese companies and Made in China.

Enough is enough!

It’s time for White House officials to stop describing the US-China relationship as a “healthy competition.”

Washington wants the comprehensive containment and retardation of China’s development in exchange for consolidating its hegemony because it has already seen China as its first and utmost challenger.

It is a zero-sum game.

No matter how US officials describe the competition, what is being done now foreshadows that direction, and there is no bottom line in sight.

Yes, there are still few cooperative opportunities between the US and China, such as climate issues. But in the current domestic political climate in the US, these issues seem unlikely to be brought back into the relationship. China needs to do its international duty as a developing power, and again, this depends on how Washington views cooperation with China.

China’s rejection of the “competition” argument is fundamentally about how the US side treats a rising power. China has never wanted to compete with the US or any other country for global hegemony, let alone export its political model.

Suppose China is not respected for its peaceful development to gain an international status commensurate with its weight and for choosing its path for development in realizing Chinese modernization. In that case, Washington’s strategy will always be in place and will continue to increase the risk of extinguishing the last bit of light.

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