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WANG Yiwei: China and U.S. Have Different Understanding of the New Model of Major-Country Relations

WANG Yiwei, Director of the International Affairs Institute at Renmin University of China, recently wrote an article that was published on Huanqiu (Global Times, a division of People’s Daily). In the article he discussed the differences between China and the United States as to how they each understand the new model of major-country relations. Below is an excerpt from the article: 

"From the perspective of historical experience and mankind’s responsibility, Sino-U.S. relations, unlike any other great power relations, may not pursue the best, but must prevent the worst. This is impossible without the new model of major-country relations. However, in the establishment of new relations between these big powers, China and the U.S. hold six different understandings of the new model of major-country relations.” 
"1. The Chinese side stresses the concept of "no conflict and no confrontation." The U.S. cannot promise to have no conflicts; at best it promises to avoid unnecessary conflicts and confrontations. Even making such a commitment is too difficult; it fears getting stuck and losing the trust of its allies." 
"2. How the nature of Sino-US relations is established will determine the direction of international politics in the 21st century. The U.S. is inclined to a "new type of relationship" that is more focused on new ways to continue the policy of engagement with China while maintaining the U.S. leadership position. The U.S. is worried that China’s emphasis on "mutual respect" may make the U.S. unable to interfere with China’s internal affairs and is contrary to the American values diplomacy. China, in asking for "respect," is hoping that the U.S. will respect China’s core interests and gradually recognize China’s ‘big country’ status."    
"3. The Chinese side has focused on shaping the nature of the new model of major-country relations between China and the U.S. with no conflict, no confrontation, and mutual respect so as to achieve a win-win effect, but the United States understands it as a kind of cooperation for cumulative effects. For example, if China cooperates with the United States on the Issues of North Korea, Iranian nuclear power, as well as Afghanistan and the ‘Islamic State,’ it will enhance the confidence of the United States to establish the new relations between big powers. Meanwhile, the United States believes that since China publicly rejected ‘Sino-U.S. joint rule’ (G2) in the past and now China uses "win-win cooperation" to lure the United States, China’s purpose is to allow the United States to let down its guard and then catch up and surpass the U.S. without being noticed." 
"4. The U.S. is worried that the new relations are merely China’s transitional arrangement for the eventual replacement of the U.S. The intention is to shake the U.S. leadership. China has emphasized that the new relationship is to reduce strategic suspicion of each other, create strategic consensus, and gather strategic actions." 
"5. The United States believes that the task of the new relations is to manage the bilateral relations, while China believes the task of the new relations is to become a cornerstone to develop the world order. China believes that the Sino-U.S. relationship is the world’s most important bilateral relationship; the U.S. acknowledges that the U.S.-China relationship is only one of the world’s most important bilateral relationships. Compared to China, the United States is becoming more and more short-sighted and sensitive."
"6. The United States is very suspicious of the future of the new relations model and believes that whether such a model can be established does not really matter. The Chinese side fears that if the new China-U.S. relations cannot be established, it is likely to fall into another political tragedy among the great powers in history." 

Source: People’s Daily, November 6, 2014