DIALOGUE: Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai meets U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell for the first Sino-U.S. consultation on Asia-Pacific affairs in Hawaii in June 2011 (ZHANG JUN)
As a move to change the status quo of the region, Washington's "return" is likely to increase strategic suspicions between China and the United States because it may infringe on China's interests.
The Obama administration's new Asia-Pacific strategy has cast a shadow over Sino-U.S. relations. Since their relations are of great importance for regional and global security, the two countries should handle their differences in an appropriate way and work together to promote stability and development in Asia Pacific.
Therefore, any strategic move by the two sides should be based on mutual trust to avoid suspicions. And on this account, U.S. attempts to boost its profile in Asia Pacific by interfering in disputes between China and its neighboring countries are not conducive to a positive Sino-U.S. relationship. To play a constructive role in the region, its new Asia-Pacific strategy ought to be aimed at peace and prosperity of the region rather than taking advantage of regional differences to promote U.S. interests.
The two powers should build an inclusive mechanism for cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. The United States' strengthening its traditional alliances in the region will not help maintain regional security, because these alliances were established during the Cold War with an apparent aim to curb China.
China and the United States should follow the principles of mutual respect and equal consultation when dealing with disagreements. Since Obama came to power, China and the United States have continued to strengthen dialogue in all areas. They have launched a strategic security dialogue and consultations on Asia-Pacific affairs under the framework of the Sino-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue.
These dialogue platforms have created opportunities for China and the United States to address their concerns. More importantly, the two countries should take positive attitudes toward narrowing differences. Given the complexity of the Sino-U.S. relationship, both sides should respect the core interests of each other and strive to build a mutually beneficial partnership. The Obama administration's stance on several issues concerning China's core interests such as arms sales to Taiwan is detrimental to the healthy development of bilateral relations.
Cooperation Over Confrontation
In a speech at a seminar on China's diplomacy in December 2011, Assistant Foreign Minister Le Yucheng addressed concerns about Washington's increased input in the Asia-Pacific region. His views follow:
The United States has never left Asia Pacific, so there is no "return." China does not want to and cannot push the United States out of Asia Pacific. We hope the United States can play a constructive role in this region, and that includes respecting China's major concerns and core interests. The Pacific Ocean is vast enough to accommodate the coexistence and cooperation between these two countries.
In the face of the changing situation we should seek cooperation, not confrontation, to solve issues. We must be confident that as long as China is committed to peaceful development, openness and cooperation and can attend our own affairs well, nobody can encircle us or keep us out.
The author is executive director of the Institute for International Strategic Studies at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies
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