China's Control Over its Pace with the US

In the third decade of the 21st century, China has more control over the pace of development than ever before. Unlike Japan, China cannot be lectured and manipulated by the United States. China is not Iran either, pursuing a completely anti-US strategy. China maintains its power against the United States, and can defend its core interests without being led by a heavy-handed Washington, writes Wang Wen, Executive Dean of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies (RDCY), Deputy Dean of Silk Road School, Renmin University of China, a speaker of the 12th Asian Conference of the Valdai Discussion Club.

An important example of this transpired during the previous presidential administration. Trump, Pompeo and others constantly provoked China with the most vicious language. Except for the necessary counter-measures and criticisms made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the top decision-making level of China never countered the “Trumpkins” with harsh words. China diplomatically avoided provoking the US more seriously. This prevented China and the US from falling into a new “Cold War” trap.

Of course, the US should not take any chances. If cases similar to the bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Yugoslavia in 1999 or the collision between Chinese and US military aircraft over the South China Sea in 2001 were to happen again, China could surely encounter a strong counterattack. That would be a disaster for China-US relations, and a tragedy for humanity. 

In this regard, the Washington Post reported that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Ed Milley, had a phone call with the Chinese military and promised not to launch an attack on China. If this is true, such military rationality and calmness should be appreciated.

Morality and Law
Panic of Decline – Which Is the Revisionist Power, the US or China?
Xiang Lanxin
There’s no question that the US, rather than China, is a leading revisionist power today, because the Washington establishment of both political parties is trapped in another wave of panic: the morbid fear of a US decline. Americans are always obsessed with declinism. Declinism is a business that never declines, writes Valdai Club expert Xiang Lanxin.

The United States should give up any illusions that China will not fight back. In fact, ever since Pompeo's provocations toward China, the world has seen that Beijing has maintained its ability to strike back at others with anti-sanction moves. If the US imposes 25 percent tariffs on Chinese goods, China will impose 25 percent tariffs on US goods. If the US closes the Chinese Consulate General in Houston, China will reciprocate by closing the US Consulate General in Chengdu. If Washington sanctions Chinese officials, Beijing will retaliate against US officials. China is an opponent of the same magnitude as the United States. 

I agree with Dr. Kissinger's latest statement that no country has the potential to dominate the world. There should be no illusions that the US can dominate China.

China's global strategic goal is still to help maintain the stability of the international order. According to Professor Alastair Iain Johnston of Harvard University, China is a country that likes to maintain the status quo. It has joined most international treaties and organisations since World War II. China has acceded to some international treaties, but the United States has not, such as the International Convention on the Law of the Sea. The US withdrew from some which China recently joined, such as the Arms Trade Treaty. China is the biggest supporter of the Paris Agreement on climate change. Overall, China and the United States maintain a highly consistent strategy on climate change, anti-money laundering, anti-terrorism and anti-cyber-crime. 

Conflict and Leadership
The Chinese Dream: Is Beijing Ready to Confront the United States Economically and in the Humanitarian Sphere?
Alexei D. Voskressenski
Despite the fact that China defends the existing world system, and has postulated the need for greater justice based on a win-win approach, the world somehow got the impression that the gains from the new conditions is mainly redistributed in Beijing’s favour, writes Alexei Voskresensky, Director of the Centre for Comprehensive Chinese Studies and Regional Projects.

During the international financial crisis in 2008, then-US secretary of state Hillary Clinton came to China, hoping to “help each other”. Clinton asked China to increase its holdings of US Treasury bonds, and China did. Since 2013, China has promoted the “The Belt and Road Initiative” strategy, even inviting the United States to join it many times. Now, it is also advocating cooperation with the "B3W" programme of the United States. Total US assets in China have exceeded $2.2 trillion. The average annual profit margin of American companies' investment in China remains above 15%. In fact, the Federal Retirement Reserve Board (FRTIB), which controls more than $600 bln, has repeatedly vowed to increase investment in China's capital markets. 

From this point of view, it would be disingenuous for us to insist upon the strategic differences between China and the United States.

There is also an often-overlooked fact; in no legal documents or official reports does the Chinese government claim that surpassing other countries is its strategic goal. In 2014, both the IMF and the World Bank released a study stating that China's economic size had surpassed that of the United States in purchasing power parity terms. However, the Chinese government did not accept this statement. 

On the contrary, China has always stressed that it will always be a developing country. It will not accept G2 membership, or join the rich countries club. No other country in the history of the world has ever been as self-disciplined as China has with its rise. China declares that it will never seek hegemony, that it will not be the first to use nuclear weapons, and that it will never invade other countries. It has consciously written these declarations into its constitution. Indeed, over the course of the past 500 years of globalisation, is there any country whose rise has been more civilised than China's daring ascent?

Opening and First Session of the 11th Asian Conference of the Valdai Club
Views expressed are of individual Members and Contributors, rather than the Club's, unless explicitly stated otherwise.