Wed, 29 Sep 2021

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Continuing to engage with China from "a position of strength?" Washington, make the right call, please.

by Xinhua writer Dong Yue

BEIJING, July 25 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman is traveling to China for a two-day visit starting on Sunday, during which she is scheduled to meet with senior Chinese diplomats in the Chinese coastal city of Tianjin.

For a strained relationship that bears extensive global significance, dialogue is absolutely welcomed and expected to bring about tangible progress.

To make the talks between the two sides productive, it is essential for the U.S. side to demonstrate sincerity and work with China to put in place a set of guardrails for the long-term development of what many deem as the world's most important bilateral relationship.

That starts with Washington calling off its aggressive actions that grossly interfere with China's internal affairs and hurt China's interests.

It is sad to see that the current U.S. administration seems to be still taking its cue from the China policy of the wrongheaded previous White House.

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Over the past few months, Washington has continued to slander China on such issues as COVID-19 origin tracing, human rights and cyberspace security, and has been seeking to form an anti-China alliance with its treaty allies. As a result, China-U.S. relations are facing an unprecedentedly difficult situation.

Beijing's stance on issues concerning China's sovereignty and territorial integrity has always been clear and consistent: there is no room for compromise.

If Washington continues with these contentious moves against China while expecting meaningful talks with Beijing, it must be daydreaming.

The United States should also abandon its condescending attitude, and learn to treat China and other countries as an equal and with due respect.

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Ahead of Sherman's visit, U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said the United States will continue to engage with China from "a position of strength."

Such arrogant and bullying rhetoric reveals just how overbearing Washington is. In fact, Washington's outdated ego also shows that many of the country's political leaders are still thinking in Cold War terms.

However, in today's world, no country, not even the United States, has the right to dominate global affairs, control the destiny of others, or keep advantages in development all to itself.

As always, China welcomes exchanges with the United States, but that does not mean Washington is entitled to lecture China or strong-arm Beijing into giving up its legitimate rights to development.

Most fundamentally, leaders in Washington should be keenly aware that a healthy and stable relationship between the world's top two economies is conducive to the interests of not only China, but the United States, and the wider global community.

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Climate cooperation is one example. The future without China and the United States joining forces to mitigate the worsening climate change is unimaginable. Yet if Washington keeps believing that it can have Beijing's cooperation in addressing daunting challenges while at the same time suppressing China, it is hugely wrong.

Given the mounting tensions that are troubling the China-U.S. relations, it is true that it is impossible to solve all problems at once. But it is important for the two sides to keep up with candid and productive communication, like the high-level strategic dialogue in Anchorage, Alaska in March.

If Sherman and her team this time can engage with their Chinese counterparts not from a position of strength as they wish, but with sincerity, respect and good faith, the meeting in Tianjin can be constructive and may lead to further talks between the two sides. Washington should make the right call.

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