Richard Haass on possibility of China-U.S. military confrontation
World Insight with Tian Wei

Editor's note: A sense is growing in Washington that America is sliding into open-ended conflict with China, with little to no debate. How real is the danger of a military confrontation between the world's two largest economies? CGTN Host Tian Wei asked Dr. Richard Haass, once Special Assistant to President George H. W. Bush, now President of the Council on Foreign Relations, and author of a new book titled "The World — A Brief Introduction."

Tian Wei: Do you think there is going to be a danger of military confrontation between China and the United States in the near future? Are we already "divorced" or "decoupled"? Are we already in a new Cold War?

Richard Haass: I don't think we're in a new Cold War and we can't divorce. There's too many connections between the two. The question is, can we limit in certain areas the economic relationship, particularly in areas of high technology? I think the answer there is probably yes.

What I'm worried about is a military incident. If you remember during the opening months of the presidency of George W. Bush, there was a military incident with complicated relations for six months. If there were an incident now in the South China Sea, it would be a real test to both sides to manage it. So I'm more worried about a military incident that could possibly escalate. I'm more worried about that today than I was, say, six months or a year ago. And again, it would be in the interest of neither side, of neither country if this were to happen.

Tian Wei: How to avoid that?

Richard Haass: Each side has to be incredibly careful, exercise real discipline over its military forces, its naval ships, its aircraft, and to keep open lines of communication.

Tian Wei: But there's a problem, isn't it, about the lines of communication. We had various mechanisms of dialogue and discussions and conversations. But now those have been scrapped off as "unuseful." The only one that we had about the trade discussion was there for some time. Now we have many more topics more than the trade issue. So we talk about the lines of communication. What are we referring to? Are we having wishful thinking here?

Richard Haass: Actually, we need to think about communication in two ways. First, we need communication, special lines of communication, hotlines and other such things. If there's an incident, we need crisis or emergency communications in order to manage crisis. If there, for example, is an incident between our two militaries.

At the same time, I believe it's important for the United States and China to have a series of real strategic conversation, about the bilateral relationship with the situation in the Asia Pacific, situation in the world. And what can the United States and China still agree. Or at least limit their disagreements on regional and global challenges and threats, and how to meet them, how to regulate cyberspace, what to do about climate change, what to do about North Korea [DPRK], what to do about Iran.

So I believe the United States and China need to have communications and exchanges both at the strategic level, about regional and global challenges, and very much at the tactical level in order to manage a crisis if one develops.

World Insight with Tian Wei is an international platform for debate and intelligent discussion. It is the meeting point of both the highly influential and rising voices, facilitated by host Tian Wei. It provides nutrition to form your own thoughts and ideas through a 45-minute live debate and interviews.

Schedule: Monday-Saturday

Time (GMT): 1415, 2015

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