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Sound US-China ties benefit all: US scholars
2005/09/01


Some American scholars have recently expressed the wish that the United States and China would further develop their ties by taking their long-term interests into consideration while trying to reconcile their differences.

Ronald Tiersky, professor of politics with Amherst College at Massachusetts, said in an interview that some of the recent events in US-China ties are worrying, such as the Pentagon's annual report on China's military power and the US Congress' blocking of a CNOOC (China National Offshore Oil Corp.) bid for the American energy firm Unocal.

It is a bad thing that the relations got started on a wrong track, he said, adding however that it is normal that there are problems before relations mature and before governments come to know each other and to trust each other.

"So it seems to me that in a way it is a natural thing to have problems, particularly at the early stage of a mature relationship," he said.

Tiersky said that normally ordinary Americans do not think of particular countries but today China has become so important to American life that China is very much on their mind.

He compared the emergence of China in the American mentality with that of Japan in the last several decades when Japan evolved from an economy that sent Americans chopsticks and little paper umbrellas to an industrial powerhouse that exports electronics and automobiles.

"I think the Americans are beginning to look at China that way, but it will take some time for the American people to become accustomed to the idea that China is a big part of American imports," he said.

He expressed the hope that leaders of the two countries would tell their own people that each country has an interest in the other being strong and the goal of each country should not be trying to damage the other but build mutual prosperity.

His views were shared by James Chieh Hsiung, professor of politics at New York University.

Professor Hsiung said a sound relationship between the two countries are a blessing not only for the two peoples but for world peace and prosperity at large.

However, he said that as the various branches of the US government may have different voices on US policy toward China, one can not get an accurate picture of the bilateral ties by fixing his eyes on the behaviors of only one part of the US government.

A recent case in point, he noted, is the Pentagon's annual report on China's military power.

He said the release of the report was postponed time and again because some sectors of the Bush administration think the report was unbalanced and extreme in its views.

The past months have also seen many newspaper and magazine articles that called for a more rational response to China's rise.

"This testifies to the fact Americans are increasingly unhappy with the rhetoric and deeds of some politicians who are blinded by the false perception that China's rise poses an inevitable threat to the United States and have lost sight of America's greater interests," he said.

He noted that some Americans have mixed feelings toward China's economic growth. They are prompt in looking for a scapegoat in competition from China's cheap labor if their employment or market shares are affected, but they never hesitate to enjoy the benefit of cheaper Chinese consumer goods when doing shopping.

Such scenario is common in a post-industrial era, the professor said. He urged American enterprises to push for industrial restructuring and enhance competitiveness through innovation and upgrading rather than competing with their counterparts in the developing world in some traditional industrial sectors, where their high production costs proved a great disadvantage.


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