Home » Blog » World Insights: Dialogue, Cooperation Right Approach to Handling China-U.S. Relations
Asia Business China Defence Economics Economy Education Featured Global News National Security News Politics United States

World Insights: Dialogue, Cooperation Right Approach to Handling China-U.S. Relations

As a recent increase in interactions between high-level U.S. and Chinese officials has attracted worldwide attention, there have been growing calls from politicians, business leaders and academics in the United States for the two countries to continue engaging with each other.

Vicious rivalry, they warned, will only harm the interests of the two countries and beyond. Enhancing dialogue and cooperation is the right choice for sound bilateral relations.


For quite some time, the U.S. government has been pushing for a so-called “de-risking” in its relations with China in sectors Washington deems critical to its national security, claiming that China has both the intent and ability to reshape the international order favorable to the U.S.-led Western world.

Militarily, it brands China as what it calls a “pacing challenge;” and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that the United States “will continue to do things and say things China doesn’t like.”

Based on misperceptions about China, such rhetoric and policies have deeply concerned some in the United States who closely follow the trajectory of China-U.S. relations.

“Do you know how many military bases we have surrounding China? 313,” Marianne Williamson, Democratic candidate for the 2024 presidential election, said during a recent town hall with voters. “Americans need to wake up. It is a different world. We have about 750 military installations in 80 countries.”

Citing Iraq and Afghanistan as an instance where the rest of the world witnessed immeasurable misery local people suffered in the last 20 years because of the U.S.-launched war on terrorism, Williamson said, “And do you think that they see China as a greater military threat to global security, or the United States as a greater military threat to global security?”

It has almost become customary for lawmakers in the U.S. Congress to often act as cheerleaders, spreading hawkish rhetoric on China. This is precisely why Democratic House Representative Jim Himes’ recent call for a return to rationality is noteworthy.

A Goldman Sachs executive before entering politics, Himes expressed his concerns to Bloomberg News about the risk of miscalculations between China and the United States escalating into war. He aims to counter “irresponsible saber-rattling” and has expressed his desire to travel to China with other lawmakers to promote better understanding between the world’s two largest economies and help ease tensions between Washington and Beijing.

Himes said he was “really worried” about four or five months ago, when he felt members of both the Democratic and the Republican parties were engaging in irresponsible rhetoric.

“I’m just saying, ‘Put yourself in their shoes so that you can understand how they think about us,'” the congressman said, adding that when Chinese concerns “all get shunted aside” by the U.S. side, “it really increases the probability of a misunderstanding or a mistake.”


The Biden administration regards strategic competition as the defining theme of the current U.S.-China relations. Its overemphasis on competition and generalization of national security, however, have put many American companies that rely heavily on the Chinese market in a dilemma.

During a trip to China in April, Pat Gelsinger, chief executive officer of U.S. leading chip-maker Intel, underscored the importance of his company’s presence in China, referring to China as “one of the world’s largest markets, and also one of Intel’s most important markets.”

Three months later, Gelsinger was invited to the annual Aspen Security Forum held in Aspen, Colorado, where he once again stressed that scaling down Intel’s businesses in China is bad strategy in that doing so would result in the company unable to sustain its investment in research and development that has already been planned.

Gelsinger told the audience at the forum that he and the CEOs of Qualcomm and Nvidia, the other two giants in the semiconductor industry, have conveyed “a very important message” to members of Congress that the Chinese market is too important for them to abandon.

“Right now what China represents is 25 to 30 percent of (Intel’s) semiconductor exports. If I had 25 or 30 percent less market, I need to build less factories,” Gelsinger said. “You can’t walk away from the 25 to 30 percent (market) and the fastest growing market in the world and expect that you remain funding the R&D in the manufacturing cycle that we’ve released.”

Data released in May by the U.S.-China Business Council (USCBC), a Washington-based trade group, showed that led by oilseeds and grains, U.S. goods exports to China increased by 1.2 percent in 2022.

Both oilseeds and grains and pharmaceutical exports saw double-digit growth year over year, the USCBC said in its report. And despite contractions compared to the previous year, semiconductors and oil and gas remained among the top goods exports to China.

In a recent episode of the “Bloomberg Talks” podcast program, Anthony Scaramucci, founder of investment firm SkyBridge Capital, said constant hostility towards China does not serve the U.S. interests. “So I think we need to calm ourselves down a little bit.”

To the extent that China has been a major manufacturing hub in the world for decades, Scaramucci said that U.S. businesses are not “going to be able to reposition ourselves that quickly.”

“We have to recognize (China’s) rise is generally beneficial for the planet because (it resulted in) less poor people … greater global interdependence, more peace and prosperity,” said Scaramucci, who served as former U.S. President Donald Trump administration’s White House communications director for 10 days in July 2017 before being sacked.

Moving supply chains away from China may be “a great campaign rhetoric” for political candidates running for public offices, but it runs counter to “the principles of global trade,” Scaramucci said. “It doesn’t necessarily lead to better consumer benefits or better employment metrics for the United States.”


By unilaterally launching the trade war, pursuing de-coupling from China and harming China’s core interest in issues relating to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Xinjiang, Washington’s actions have severely damaged China-U.S. relations.

More and more rational people in the United States have come to realize that “making America great again” won’t be achieved by suppressing and containing other countries. Such actions will only harm the interest of the United States, its people and people around the world.

In a recent article published by The Hill, international relations scholars Collin Meisel and Kylie McKee of the University of Denver argued against calling China the “enemy” of the United States. “The word ‘enemy’ is particularly unhelpful in the context of U.S.-China relations,” they said.

U.S. politicians, they said, “should cool their metaphorical jets and consider firing up their actual jets for more shuttle diplomacy between Washington and Beijing.”

Echoing their remarks, Williamson, the Democratic presidential candidate, said at the town hall event, “We have to step back, become far humbler. We can’t continue to look at the world as everybody as an enemy.”

Starting with Blinken in June, several Cabinet-level officials in the Biden administration have visited China one after another, reflecting a reevaluation occurring within the U.S. government regarding its approach toward China.

Despite the candid, in-depth and constructive dialogues aimed at implementing the consensus reached between the leaders of the two countries in Bali, Indonesia, the foundation for re-stabilizing the China-U.S. relationship is still so precarious that any opportunity conducive to its consolidation should be cherished.

China and the United States are major countries in the world whose relationship has implications that go far beyond the two countries per se. Challenges facing the globe today, from macroeconomic and financial stability to climate change and the debt issue, all requires Washington and Beijing to coordinate and cooperate with each other.

Penny Pritzker, former U.S. Commerce Secretary during the Barack Obama administration, said during the Aspen Security Forum that although the United States and China are indeed engaged in a competition, “there’s also areas for us to cooperate, and we need to.”

“I’m for engagement. I think it’s extremely important,” she added.

Joseph Nye, a renowned U.S. political scientist who coined the term “soft power,” was very concerned about an ongoing situation where people put too much emphasis on the United States and China being each other’s rival and pay not enough attention to the many aspects where the two sides can and must cooperate.

“The U.S. and China are not an existential threat to each other,” and both countries are “too big” for either one to “change or invade” the other, Nye said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua on the sidelines of the Aspen Forum.

“In that sense, we need to think of a framework which sets limits on the competition and also (enables the two sides) to look for areas where it’s possible to have cooperation. I think that, to my mind, is the direction we should be heading,” he said.

Nye, dean emeritus of the Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School, said it’s important that “for symbolic purposes, we develop some areas where we can educate our publics that there is something we can gain from cooperation.”

“If all the discussion in Beijing and in Washington is about how the other country is a threat, (the narrative) becomes reinforcing,” Nye said. “If we show cooperation, that begins to change the climate of ideas in Washington and Beijing.”

Scaramucci said that even though the United States and China have different ideologies and political systems, the fact that “we are the two strongest economies in the world” makes it necessary for the United States to “figure it out,” so that it can properly deal with China.