A senior Chinese diplomat has suggested that Asia will be “the starting point” for forging a new type of relationship between China and the United States.
In a year-end interview with Xinhua News Agency, Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Jianchao noted a “dramatic increase in engagement, competition, and gaming” by major world players in Asia.
Washington’s high-profile “Rebalancing Asia” strategy has led to global concerns because some observers view the US as backing competing parties in disputes in the East China Sea and the South China Sea.
Liu said the two countries “have most of their common interests in Asia, where most of their contradictions and divergences also lie”.
The job of building the new type of relationship will require deep thought and cautious policy choices, with both sides meeting halfway, and mutual respect for each other’s interests and concerns, he said.
President Xi Jinping has had detailed talks with President Barack Obama twice in the past two years, reaching agreement on several issues.
Jin Canrong, a professor of international relations at Renmin University of China, said a new type of relationship could be forged because “cooperation comes with competition” and the countries have stakes in each other.
The balancing Asia strategy is a hedge against China’s rise, and will “be worthless in the long run”, hes aid.
In November, China and Japan reached a four-point principled agreement on ties, a first step in thawing serious tensions. Liu said the two sides will “give great care” to improving the momentum of the relationship and” restarting bilateral communication and cooperation in various fields step by step”.
As for the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Road initiatives China has put forward, Liu said Beijing “does not seek dominance in regional affairs or sphere of influence”.
Some commentators have compared the projects to the US-led Marshall Plan during the Cold War era, but Liu disagreed. He said the Marshall Plan imposed conditions on recipient countries, but China’s “Belt and Road” initiatives do not interfere in the internal affairs of countries in the region.