Op-Ed Contributors

Make China and US stronger

Updated: 2011-09-26 08:07

By Zheng Xiwen (China Daily)

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It is dangerous to link China's rise to 9/11 when cooperation and the hard work of millions are there for all to see

During the 10th anniversary of Sept 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, some Western media observers turned their attention to the East as they commented on the wins and losses of US strategies and try to make some connection between China's rise and the US' "war on terror".

Their point was that the George W. Bush administration did not carry out policies to contain China because of the "war on terror". That was why China has enjoyed 10 golden years of development.

As the US refocuses its strategy, these people argue, China may not have such an easy time. This explanation is obviously suitable to the political tastes and logic of many Westerners. The question is how reliable is the argument?

Looking back on the past 30 years of China's development provides a clear answer to the question. Anyone without prejudice can see that China's rise is deeply rooted in historical necessity and self-evident rationality. China may have been the most dazzling star on the international scene for the past 10 years, but India, Brazil, Russia and some other countries have shone as well.

In the era of globalization, new market economies rise in groups, which is a historical necessity independent of human will, not an accident caused by a single historical event. China has done well to capitalize on the opportunities that have come along with globalization to initiate reform and opening-up and develop its economy over the past 30 years, which at the same time, bring huge benefits to foreign investors in China. The innovation and hard work of hundreds of millions of Chinese people have been fully realized to achieve one Chinese wonder after another.

In this sense, China's rise originates from strong national self-consciousness. Its robust vitality comes from within itself. Thus, China's rise is not related to 9/11 at all. No matter how the Bush administration implemented its strategy, China's progress was inevitable.

Certainly, no country can develop without interacting with the outside world, and China is no exception. Compared with the other powers, China's situation is far from comfortable. Ideological prejudices have made its road much more bumpy. But China behaves prudently and responsibly on the world stage regardless of changes in international affairs. Its firm adherence to equality and mutual benefit has won it more and more respect, trust and understanding from its partners.

During the Asian financial crisis, China acted responsibly to keep the value of yuan stable and tried its best to help its neighbors, laying the foundation for cooperation and confidence between members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and China. In the face of the fearsome global financial crisis, China not only managed its own business well, but also reached out to help needy countries as an important power seeking to maintain stability worldwide.

As for the US, which is plagued by troubles at home and abroad, China has not taken advantage of its state, but prioritizes bilateral cooperation and joins hands with the US to fight terrorism. White papers on China's peaceful rise demonstrate the country's sincerity and generosity toward the world. China's rise brings opportunities and hope for development to the world, instead of troubles and disasters.

Indeed, no country can afford to rely on other countries' missteps for its development.

There are two hot topics nowadays. One is China's rise, the other the US' "expected fall". Some Cold War-minded people are eager to discuss the two topics. But the Chinese know that all successes are interconnected, and it is the same for failures. Chinese people do not believe that their country can rise at the expense of other countries. China has always been dedicated to overcoming difficulties together with the US while at the same time managing its own affairs well.

Today more US elites have realized that China's rise is becoming a fact. Accepting this fact and seeking to live harmoniously with China can suit the US' national interests better than trying to contain China.

As US Vice-President Joe Biden said during his recent trip to China: "A successful China can make the US stronger, not weaker." Based on this clear-minded judgment, the Obama administration is dealing with Sino-US relations in an active, self-confident and inclusive way. Even if the Bush administration had the opportunity to revisit its decisions, it would very likely choose to make friends with China.

The author is a Beijing-based scholar of international relations.

(China Daily 09/26/2011 page8)


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