At a webinar on July 25, No to the New Cold War, speakers from China,the U.S., the UK, India, Russia, Canada, Venezuela and Brazil discussed how to counter the new U.S. hostility toward China. The following is an edited excerpt of what Wang Wen, Executive Dean of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China, said on the issue:
The next few months before the U.S. presidential election on November 3 will be a high-risk period for Sino-U.S. relations as Donald Trump will do anything to win his reelection. The possibility of the Trump administration resorting to military conflict against China can't be ruled out.
Trump's China policy has no bottom line. He is likely to announce a diplomatic break-off with China because one of his election strategies is to constantly provoke China.
If he can make China strike back, it will deflect everyone's attention in the U.S. from his failure to curb the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. He can then pretend to be a strong political leader who dares to take on China, which is a ploy to get more votes.
China has refused to be provoked. So Trump will keep on provoking China until the bilateral ties deteriorate and diplomatic relations can be broken off, and even a war is started. If it does happen, it will be a disaster for not only the two countries but also for the entire world.
To me, this smacks of an open political conspiracy. The Trump administration is the source of any potential disaster.
China has no intention to respond to the U.S. with a new cold war. On July 9, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi spoke about China-U.S. relations at the China-U.S. Think Tanks and Media Online Forum, stressing that the relationship faces "the most severe challenge since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1979."
Wang called for the relationship's return "back on track toward long-term, sound and steady development." He also made some detailed and pragmatic proposals. First, the two sides should activate and open all channels of dialogue. Second, they should review and agree on the lists of interactions. Third, they should focus and cooperate on the COVID-19 response.
Contrary to the speeches by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the Chinese foreign minister did not attack the U.S. Instead of mouthing hardline phrases to coerce the U.S., his speech was sagacious and urged healthy development of China-U.S. relations and resolution of problems.
While the U.S. is pressing on the accelerator to crash the bilateral relationship, China has been putting the brakes on with the hope of preventing it from plummeting further.
The Trump administration's strategy to portray China as an enemy won't succeed. For example, in early July, the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies asked 100 Chinese scholars about Sino-U.S. relations and 82 percent said a new cold war like the U.S.-Soviet Union Cold War is unlikely.
Also, 90 percent said China is well prepared to handle the new cold war offensive launched by the U.S.
The coronavirus is still raging on and the pandemic hasn't peaked yet. The pessimistic view is that as many as 70 million people might die. If humanity doesn't unite now, all of us, including the U.S., will likely enter a dark age.
Americans should know that China is not the enemy, the virus is. And all our international friends should know that we don't need another cold war.
We note the increasingly aggressive statements and actions being taken by the U.S. Government in regard to China. These constitute a threat to world peace and are an obstacle to humanity successfully dealing with extremely serious common issues which confront it such as climate change, control of pandemics, racist discrimination and economic development.
We therefore believe that any new cold war would run entirely counter to the interests of humanity. Instead we stand in favor of maximum global cooperation in order to tackle the enormous challenges we face as a species.
We therefore call upon the U.S. to step back from this threat of a cold war and also from other dangerous threats to world peace it is engaged in including withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty; withdrawal from the Paris climate change accord; and its increasing disengagement from UN bodies. The U.S. should also stop pressuring other countries to adopt such dangerous positions.
We support China and the U.S. basing their relations on mutual dialogue and centering on the common issues which unite humanity.
(Print Edition Title: No to a New Cold War)
Copyedited by Sudeshna Sarkar
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