Are China and the U.S. entering a new Cold War?
Updated 22:20, 30-Jul-2019

Editor's note: The trade tensions between China and the U.S. have been going on for one year and a half. This Tuesday, the two sides resumed their trade talks. Michael McFaul, the former U.S. ambassador to Russia, shared his views on China-U.S. relations as well as the growing China-Russia convergence against the backdrop of growing China-U.S. tensions. The opinions expressed in the video are his and do not necessarily represent those of CGTN.

CGTN: What are your thoughts on the China-U.S. trade war?

McFaul: I agree with President Trump and his team that there were serious problems in our bilateral economic relationship between China and the United States. What I don't support is the strategy of using sanctions and tariffs to try to bring about a solution. I think tariffs are bad as they hurt both Chinese and American consumers as well as their producers. I hope that now the negotiators can find a resolution so that we can both win from economic cooperation.

CGTN: Are China and the U.S. entering a new cold war?

McFaul: It is striking in my country, in the United States, that there's a lot of talk about a new cold war with China. Many politicians say this, many newscasters say this and they're using this analogy from our competition with the Soviet Union to suggest that we are entering a new Cold War with China. And I believe that analogy is the incorrect analogy.

I think it distorts more than it reveals for a number of reasons. One, the United States and China are both global powers, but they are not both military superpowers. The United States has way more military power than China does. Number two, there is an ideological dimension between the competition between China and the United States, but it is not near the kind of ideological competition we had between the Soviet Union and the United States during the Cold War. Number three, during the Cold War, we had almost no trade and investment between the Soviet Union and the United States. China today has lots of trade and lots of investment with the United States. So I think the analogy is wrong and I hope it doesn't become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If we work together, we can avoid having a second cold war.

CGTN: Against the backdrop of increasing China-U.S. trade tensions, what do you think of the growing convergence between China and Russia?

McFaul: I do think China and Russia's relations are better now than they've been for a long time. I did not support President Trump's decision to raise tariffs on Chinese goods. I thought that was a wrong strategy. I also believe that in the long run, China and the United States have way more overlapping interests than China and Russia.

And I used to work at the White House and for President Obama - I believe personal relations matter a little bit but at the end of the day, all leaders, whether they're Chinese, Russian, or American, their job is to pursue their national interest. And I do not believe that conflict with the United States is in China's national interests. I think that would be very costly, especially economically, to China to try to have a confrontation with the United States. So I think a more sophisticated strategy, which by and large I think President Xi has, is to maintain good relationships with Putin but also try to build better relations with President Trump and the United States. And I think that's achievable.

Interviewer: Xu Sicong
Videographer: Gao Chong
Video editor: Wu Chutian
Producer: Wei Wei
Chief editor: Lin Dongwei
Supervisor: Mei Yan

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