BY SILVI WRITER
Former US president Jimmy Carter warned of the risks of sliding into a “modern Cold War” with China and called on both sides to find a common cause on African development.
Marking the 40th anniversary of his January 1979 normalisation of relations with Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, Carter voiced concern that both countries were increasingly describing each other as threats.
“If top government officials embrace these dangerous notions, a modern cold war between our two nations is not inconceivable,” the 94-year-old former president wrote in The Washington Post on Monday.
However, Chinese scholars largely dismiss such Cold War-related fears, saying although bilateral ties cannot return to what they once were four decades ago due to the rapid development of China in overall national strength, it is unlikely the world will witness another US-Soviet Union-like rivalry in coming years.
The China-US relations can still progress and avoid worsening into a “modern Cold War,” Chinese experts said.
“A new Cold War is not in line with China’s interests, and as China enhances its socioeconomic and military strengths, China is now strong enough to play as much of a deciding role as the US in defining the bilateral ties. Therefore, China will not let that happen,” Li Haidong, a professor at the Beijing-based China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
“China and the US are so interwoven in all aspects of life, in one of the most remarkable achievements made in the past four decades,” Li said.
Ni Feng, deputy director of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ Institute of American Studies, said that “China is nothing like the Soviet Union, as it has entirely integrated into the global economy, and is one of the most important players and supporters in the system.”
“Unlike the Cold War, the overwhelming majority of both Chinese and American people, in fact, are greatly fond of each other, and admire each other’s culture, and this shall play a stabilizing role in the bilateral relationship development and even stop policymakers from making decisions to make the other as an enemy,” Ni noted.
The US will need China’s coordination and cooperation in many fields such as contributing to curb climate change, fighting against terrorism and extremism, let alone what worries the US the most, the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, Ni said.
Da Wei, director of the Center for International Strategy and Security Studies at the University of International Relations, said a basic lesson drawn from the 40 years of China-US relations is that the two countries have better ties when they observe things from a strategic height and with a historical perspective.
Leaders of the two countries can play important roles in managing bilateral relations, which are critically important to both sides, Da told China Daily.
Stephen Roach, an economist and senior fellow at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, said that in a mutually dependent relationship such as that between the US and China, both nations should work to address their own economic issues and imbalances to be better able to address issues hampering their ties.
Only by strengthening from within will the world’s two largest economies be better positioned to transform their relationship to a more constructive interdependency instead of their relationship creating frictions that pose serious impediments to economic growth, Roach said.
The US and China must and can align their economic and national security objectives, as this is essential for the two largest economies to peacefully coexist in the current century, said John Milligan-Whyte, chairman of the America-China Partnership Foundation in New York.
Washington and Beijing have to be partners, Milligan-Whyte said.
“The two largest economies cannot engage in financial or military wars. So in order to coexist economically, they have to align their national security.”