How does former U.S. ambassador view U.S.-China relations?
Dialogue with Yang Rui
China and the U.S., one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world, have come a very long way. The interests of China and the U.S. have been largely integrated with the development of their relationship, and maintaining sound China-U.S. relations is beneficial to both countries and their people. But there is a voice saying the U.S. would never go back to the relationship it had with China 40 years ago, or even five years ago. Also, we have seen some scholars and politicians in the U.S. want to redefine the current China-U.S. relations.
What shall be done to narrow differences and enhance strategic trust?
Max Baucus, the former U.S. ambassador to China said that the two countries should work harder to improve their relations. By "working harder", he meant that the two countries have to listen to each other more and be in good faith to work together.
Max served as the U.S. ambassador to China from 2014 to 2017. He was appointed by the then U.S. President Barack Obama.
"On the U.S. side, for example, I am just concerned that there may be some thinking in the U.S. that we should prevent China's rise. That is not good faith. That is bad faith. It will cause problems," he added.
As the world grows more connected, China's and the U.S.'s future grow even more intertwined. But the growing hostility in the U.S. towards China and voices advocating decoupling from China in American society are posing threats to bilateral ties and beyond.
From Baucus's perspective, he gave us insight and said, “I think, frankly speaking, it is wrong to talk about decoupling because that has very negative connotations.”
"It sends a signal to the other side that we don't want to work with you as much. It sends a signal that we are taking care of ourselves at your expense. There is a reason for people in each country to worry about their own national interests. However, with all the interconnection in the world today, especially trade and geo-political, we got to work together. For example, 40 percent of the tariffs imposed by the U.S. on Chinese imports affect products that the American people and enterprise use. So we are hurting ourselves by doing that."
Recently, Italy's decided to cooperate with China over the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and thus became the first G7 nation to do so. The decision has frustrated some European countries. As the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation will be hosted at the end of April, many observers are carefully watching the U.S. attitude on BRI.
Regarding this issue, Baucus says it is fine and great for Italy to join the BRI and seek cooperation with China.
"It may upset some European countries and the U.S. But that is OK and they can take care of themselves. We have to understand that each country has its own interest. China is China and the U.S. is the U.S. American cannot tell China what to do and China cannot tell America what to do. We have to deal with each other on the equal terms and respect each other, not in a counter way."
(If you want to contribute and have specific expertise, please contact us at email@example.com.)