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Global challenges call for solidarity, not another divisive Cold War

Source: Updated: 2020-08-05

"Why should we allow history to repeat ... when we are faced with so many new challenges?"

Addressing the participants of the virtual Aspen Security Forum on Tuesday, Cui Tiankai, Chinese ambassador to the United States, voiced a view that many people share: "I don't think a new Cold War would serve anybody's interest."

His conciliatory words, despite the US administration's attempts to find a casus belli for such a cryogenic confrontation, echo earlier remarks by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Acknowledging that the current China policy of the US is "fraught with emotions and whims and McCarthyist bigotry", Wang said that nonetheless "China's door to dialogue remains open".

Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer are due to lead the scheduled review of the implementation of their "phase one" trade deal on Aug 15. The meeting, if it goes ahead, offers an opportunity for the two sides to put a brake on their deteriorating relations.

Although Cui was not certain if the discussions would take place, he expressed some confidence that "if they do have such a meeting, I guess it will be very positive".

Since both the supply and demand sides of the global economy have been badly hit by the pandemic, miring the world economy in the worst systemic recession in decades, the world needs international solidarity to contain the contagion, as well as macroeconomic policy coordination.

But such solidarity has been hard to realize as the US administration has been sabotaging any concerted efforts involving China.

Yet just as it has no vision of how healthy Sino-US relations might look, neither does it have any workable solutions for how to amend the damage its paranoia is inflicting on the global economy. In this sense, the US has become an insurmountable obstacle facing the world on the road to recovery.

Neither the heavy loss of life in the country, something that seems set to continue given the callousness the administration demonstrates, nor the worst economic decline the country has seen in the second quarter since 1947 has proved to be sufficient to sway US decision-makers from their dangerous game.

Yet the world will not be able to advance along the road to recovery until they change the zero-sum mentality that their game demands.

When most countries are seeking to join hands to weather the public health storm, the US refuses to do so if China is involved.

Its petty-mindedness will be the death of many.

As such, it is to be hoped that the restraint and reason Beijing is exercising will encourage Washington to return to its senses, sooner rather than later. What the world needs the US administration to be is not the proverbial bull in a china shop, but a true practitioner of the art of statesmanship.

The views don't necessarily reflect those of Qiushi Journal.