How to Avoid the Cold War with China

expert perspective – A meeting – albeit virtual – between President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping finally took place. It was a cordial and reportedly candid exchange that somewhat cooled tensions between the US and China.

President Biden captured the essence of the meeting with his concern that this tension “does not come into conflict, whether intended or unintended.” President Xi said “China and the United States need to increase communication and cooperation” and “respect each other and coexist peacefully.”

It is hard to believe that in 1979, when formal US-China diplomatic relations were established, Chinese President Deng Xiaoping saw the US as a country that would provide investment, technology and unlimited access to our best universities. And America did not disappoint. Investments and sophisticated technology flowed into China, with hundreds of thousands of Chinese students enrolling in our universities. Strategic bilateral cooperation, along with joint efforts to address international terrorism and nuclear proliferation, initially contributed to the Soviet Union’s defeat in Afghanistan.

Therefore, over a period of forty-two years, relations have gone from close economic and strategic cooperation to one of conflict, intended or unintended concern. Obviously, scholars will spend a lot of time analyzing what went wrong.

What is important now is that US-China relations move in a more positive direction. Tensions over China’s aggression against Taiwan, the militarization of islands and reefs in the South China Sea, detention camps for Uighurs in Xinjiang, national security legislation in Hong Kong that suppresses democratic protests and intellectual property theft are all explicitly discussed. Should be known To avoid misunderstandings and accidental conflicts to our diplomats and leaders.

President Biden said Washington’s “one China” policy continues and “opposes unilateral efforts to change the status quo.” President Xi reportedly said, “Beijing will take decisive action if the pro-Taiwan independence movement crosses a red line.”

The three communiqués and the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act specifically state that, inter alia, “the United States’ decision to establish diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China rests on the expectation that Taiwan’s future will be determined by peaceful means.” Considering any attempt to determine the future of Taiwan by peaceful means, including boycotts or sanctions, threatens the peace and security of the Western Pacific and is of grave concern to the United States.”

The challenge for the US and China is to remove many other impediments to Taiwan and bilateral relations to ensure that no one issue, or series of issues, leads to conflict. Reducing rhetoric and in particular following a policy of genuine and continuous communication by our diplomats would be an essential first step.


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The annual Economic and Strategic Dialogue with China, led by the heads of the State Department and Treasury and their counterparts in Beijing, was established to monitor progress in addressing these and other challenging issues. A forum of this type, with announcements, to ensure that the public is made aware of the issues and the value of the work being done to address these issues, only when the dialogue is genuine and only for formal Don’t be

This virtual presidential summit could be transformative if, in addition to addressing these and other bottlenecks, it also addresses the opportunity to collaborate on the many geopolitical issues that affect the security of the US and China – and the world. .

I will start with the nuclear issue and the fact that China has had minimal talks on its nuclear program. And given the recent reporting at three sites in China with hundreds of missile silos being built, and a recent DIA report that by 2030, China will have a nuclear arsenal of 1000 nuclear weapons, there are concerns. Ideally, China should be part of the New Start arms control talks with the US and Russia. But he has previously refused to engage in this or any other arms control talks. At a minimum, China should be held accountable for talks with the US on nuclear-related issues, including the recent test of two of their hypersonic missiles.

A separate but equally important dialogue with China is on cyber, to ensure that the cyber domain is not weaponized and used against our private sector for economic gain. Also, to ensure that outdoor space is used exclusively for peaceful purposes.

There are many global issues that require bilateral cooperation. We recently saw some US-China cooperation on climate change at the Glasgow COPS 26 UN Climate Change Conference. Obviously, more needs to be done, but it is a positive first step.

Other issues like North Korea can and should be addressed now. China has a unique advantage with North Korea which is dependent on China for its economic survival. China could use that leverage to bring North Korea back into talks and convince the North that full and verifiable denuclearization is in North Korea’s best interest in exchange for significant delivery.

With more than 5 million global casualties and more than 760,000 deaths in the US due to COVID-19, it should be clear that more bilateral cooperation is necessary on this and future pandemics.


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Bilateral cooperation on nuclear proliferation, countering international terrorism, drug trafficking and combating international organized crime are some of the global issues that affect the security of the US and China and the global community. Failure to cooperate on these and other international issues is not only a security imperative, but a moral responsibility of all great powers.

Ultimately, with the Taliban coming back under control in Afghanistan, the US and China have a common goal: to ensure that the Taliban can once again use Afghanistan as a base for their international terrorist operations. is not allowed to be used. China has engaged this Taliban government and must use its significant financial leverage to ensure that all terrorist groups are permanently removed from Afghanistan.

Xi Jinping was anointed by the Chinese Communist Party as one of its respected leaders along with Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. The party Congress will likely give Xi a third five-year term as the party’s general secretary next year. There are a number of domestic issues that require the attention of Xi and the party, including its campaign for “common prosperity” – addressing wealth inequality in China ruled by a capitalist system with Chinese characteristics.

It is expected that President Xi Jinping will work with President Joe Biden to ensure that the two great powers, consumed by domestic issues, will also address the myriad international issues requiring immediate and long-term attention and avoid a Cold War that conflicts. can change into.

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