China, US need to seek greatest common interest
Global Times


The upcoming meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump at the G-20 summit is attracting global attention.

President Donald Trump sees a "good possibility" that the US and China can reach a deal at the dinner Saturday, said White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow on Tuesday, but "certain conditions have to be met." According to Kudlow, if Washington and Beijing fail to reach a deal, the US will move to raise tariffs on Chinese goods. 

In fact, multiple messages have been released by the US side including Trump himself recently. Optimistic prospects and negative views, such as the necessity of pressuring China, can both be seen.

Faced with these messages, it is conducive for us to understand Washington's demands on Beijing at this stage. First, narrowing the trade deficit with China is the desire of the US. Second, the US hopes China-US trade can support the US advantage in technology. Third, the Washington elite expect rules to be made to constrain the rise of China and ensure that the US is the world's top power in the long run.

In response what China should do is to further deepen reforms and expand opening-up. It is the only way for China to resolve various problems and achieve sustainable development, and pressure from the US is a strong catalyst.

It is necessary for China and the US to seek the greatest common interest of the two countries by communicating and cooperating. The friction between the two sides may lead to expansion of China's reform and opening-up framework to a certain extent, but it is never possible for the US to subvert this framework. 

The process of seeking the greatest common interest must be tough for both countries. Conflicts, struggle and mutual threats are inevitable, but ultimate success is of a high probability. For both sides, the benefits of communicating and cooperating are overwhelming in comparison to confrontation. 

It is reasonable for the US to ask China to address the China-US trade imbalance. Maintaining its technological edge is reasonable to some extent. But it is extremely dangerous for the US to hold the idea that its national destiny depends first and foremost on constraining the growth of China.

China has rights of development and growth. Moreover, as the second largest economy, China's continuous growth can exert great influence on the global power structure. Having this understanding, China will keep developing in a system acceptable to all parties and achieve equality of opportunity to which all parties can best agree. Therefore, China's development itself can't cause any zero-sum effect. Such a development has to lead to a win-win situation unprecedented in human history.

We expect that the meeting of the heads of the world's two largest economies will point to right directions that lead to finding their greatest common interest. In that case, no matter how many twists and turns, the China-US relationship will never lose its overall positive direction.