The Sino-US Asia-Pacific Dispute: a long-term Game of Patience

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USA Cina
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Jakarta, IO – When observing modern international relations, we must avoid excessive game commentary style and gossip. For example, seeing Le Pen’s defeat as “anti-China” and NATO’s measures against Russia as “shifting of strategic emphasis” by the US is not only ludicrous, but also has no practical guiding value. The anti-China consensus between the two parties in the United States is currently becoming stronger, and society is continually disseminating and organizing. To some extent, the ongoing crisis between Russia and Ukraine has also contributed to the anti-China trend based on ideology. 

Whether it is Biden, Trump, or other leaders on stage, they are all bound by this political framework and must regard China as their primary competitor; it is impossible for the US government to change its China policy for the mid-term elections, let alone that the US currently lacks the willingness of China and the US to dialogue, even if the dialogue is likely to be the first negotiated political show in Alaska. True, there are still prospects for China and the United States to improve relations. For example, the United States has regularly stated its goal to lower or eliminate tariffs on China in order to reduce domestic inflation. However, even in areas where there is possibility for cooperation, the US strategy toward China remains “one step back and ten steps forward.” 

For example, the US is slowly pushing the building of investment evaluations in China, banking regulators and the Ministry of Commerce are tightening dialogue restrictions, and the Russia-Ukraine crisis is being used to craft new penalties against Chinese technology businesses. In the second half of the year, the US will also conduct a quadrennial assessment of Trump-era tariff policy, adopt the Biden administration’s official position on China’s alleged “unfair trade” behavior, and continue to change tariff policy. It will be difficult for the Biden administration to convey a political signal of “weakness” toward China throughout the debate and implementation of these trade restrictions. 

Whether China and the United States can escape fierce rivalry and conflict is primarily dependent on the voice of “rationalists” – rationalists are not necessarily pro-China, but must resist the ideological confrontation between great powers fostered by some US and Western leaders. At the moment, the “rationalists” are deafeningly silent on two fronts: within the United States, despite the fact that a few congressional politicians have sparked a flood of anti-China proposals, the priority of China issues in American society remains low, and the United States lacks the ability to reflect on the anti-China movement. Some voices, including global capital organizations, seek to harness the anti-China wave to exert pressure on the Chinese leadership. 

After 2019, Europe is pressing for “ideological diplomacy” within the US alliance structure. Some European politicians aim to emulate Trump by engaging in political blackmail against China. Recently, certain nations have shown a desire to utilize anti-China rhetoric in exchange for political assistance from the United States. Russia and Ukraine’s crisis has gotten worse. Europe is inextricably linked to the United States, and a number of circumstances are forcing Europe to lose space for flexible diplomacy.