OPINIONS Washington should work with Beijing to accentuate the positive in relations: China Daily editorial

OPINIONS

Washington should work with Beijing to accentuate the positive in relations: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn

21:12, July 09, 2020

(Photo: Sipa)

The bifurcation of sentiment between Beijing and Washington regarding the China-US relationship has become increasingly apparent this year. The optimism that prevailed after the two sides struck their "phase one" trade deal is now in scarce supply.

While Washington is apparently intent on an all-out confrontational approach of containment against what it portrays as an increasingly aggressive communist China, with growing talk of an all-around decoupling of the two countries. Beijing still believes, as President Xi Jinping has said, that there are 1,000 reasons for a fine China-US relationship, and none for wrecking it.

That the China-US relationship, which is probably the most consequential bilateral relationship in the world, is facing a severe challenge is undeniable. That this is due to those in the US with ideological biases resorting to all possible means to portray China as an adversary, and even an enemy, is also incontrovertible.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo provided the latest evidence of this on Wednesday with his depiction of Beijing as being "incredibly aggressive", and his attempt to foster division with his remark that "The world shouldn't allow this bullying to take place, nor should it permit it to continue."

Such comments are part of Washington's now familiar good and evil rhetoric — with no prizes for guessing which it perceives itself to be — which is intended to distort China's image so as to impede interactions with it and in this way frustrate and contain its development.

Speaking at a video forum for Chinese and American think tanks on Thursday, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi called on the US to develop more "objective and coolheaded perceptions about China".

Reiterating that China does not seek to challenge, replace, or confront the US, he said that the current China policy of the US "is fraught with emotions and whims and McCarthyist bigotry" that has reached "a point of paranoia" where "every cooperation initiative is a scheme with a hidden agenda".

His speech, refreshingly, was tinged with optimism, but only if all the channels of dialogue are opened, as "only communication can dispel falsehoods".

That bilateral relations can't return to the past "should not mean ignoring history altogether and starting all over again," Wang said. "Let alone impractical decoupling."

Beijing has been persistent in its argument that the past four decades of general rapport have not come easily, and that the two countries should build on their past achievements.

To this end Wang proposed that three lists be drawn up: The first specifying all issues, bilateral and global, where China and the US need to and can work together, the second itemizing differences that could be resolved through dialogue, the third a list of issues that need proper management to minimize their impact on and harm to overall China-US relations.

It is to be hoped that Washington will heed this constructive message and inject some positive thinking and energy of its own to help relations develop in the right direction.

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