An Gang of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), Wang Yiming of Renmin University and Hu Xin of China's National Defence University (NDU) co-authored a  lengthy 5-part article, which was published on July 6, 2020, in a journal. The article said that Beijing should seek to stabilize its relations with Washington and actively manage their differences and competition.  It said "in order to effectively prevent the "new situation" from evolving toward full confrontation and conflict, China and the United States urgently need to reposition, deal with, and control the "new paradigm" of mutual relations". The report added that  "Calling China a "strategic and economic opponent" of the United States, the Trump administration will stick to the end in terms of competition with China" and that following the tone and direction established by the White House, various US government departments, powerful institutions, and strategic think tanks have gradually formed a "whole government" strategic competition situation. The report said "China’s policy toward the U.S. has placed greater emphasis on the struggle, and the competitiveness of China and the United States has increased significantly. Internal competition is greater than cooperation". It assessed that the United States "believes that the essence of Sino-US competition on the international stage is the competition between the Western democratic political circle and the "authoritarian camp" led by China and Russia adding that "A conflict of value systems; differences in political systems are the source of long-term mistrust between the two countries". Asserting that however "China adheres to the socialist road, firmly maintains the basic system, and mobilizes the country to achieve the "two hundred years" strategic goal. It is impossible to trade core interests", it said "The development of structural contradictions on the ideological level between China and the United States will follow the rise of China. The deepening is more sharp and complicated". Stressing the importance of maritime power, it said "maritime strategic competition will determine the overall strategic relationship to a large extent, and the narrowing of the contrast between China and the United States will increase the strategic competition at sea".  Interestingly, the report observed "The tendency of American pressure on China to concentrate on political systems and national sovereignty and security issues is to a certain extent, inspiring China’s awareness of victimization and sorrow, boosting nationalist sentiment, and aggravating the atmosphere of public opinion that is not conducive to the long-term development of Sino-US relations, will impact the rational framework for diplomatic decision-making between the two countries from time to time". Assessing that the US "is a major opponent that China has to deal with strategically and an important target for cooperation in many practical fields", it candidly stated that China is "the weaker side of the strategic competition of major powers" and "should fully understand the strategic considerations of the United States, form a reasonable response strategy, and make the right choice of the times". "China needs to carefully assess the risk of these confrontations dragging the two countries into conflict". Stating that "Communication and dialogue are important traditions in Sino-US relations. Even in the sharpest rivalry during the Cold War", the report said it is necessary to: (i) "Improve the high-level dialogue and communication mechanism and establish an interactive channel that matches the importance of global power relations"; (ii) "Reactivate the strategic dialogue mechanism whose efficacy is at a standstill and build a strategic stability framework"; (iii) "Strengthen the institutional dialogue and professional exchanges between the Chinese and American armed forces"; (iv) "Resist the trend of "decoupling" and protect the mutually beneficial and harmonious relations between the two countries". It noted, in an apparent hint to exploit the opportunity, that "Generally speaking, a large number of people in the domestic business, education, and academic circles in the United States do not consider "decoupling" to be desirable and feasible. They also dislike the monitoring and restriction measures by the Trump administration against Chinese people"; (v) Rationally and effectively cooperate at the global security level when "China is growing into a global power, and the interests of the United States are increasingly extending to the regional and global levels"; (vi) Properly manage maritime strategic competition as "the West Pacific Ocean, especially the South China Sea, is becoming the home of Sino-US face-to-face strategic games. It is also the primary practice field for the two countries to conduct strategic trials and explore new dynamic balances. As far as the megatrends are concerned, the two countries can neither ignore nor avoid conflicts in their strategic interests nor can they completely exclude each other by strong means. Long-term strategic stalemate will become a normalized trend."(vii) "Clarify common interests and maintain normal cooperation" especially since "China and the United States still share common interests in a wide range of fields";(viii) Manage third-party factors, namely China and the United States have close ties with other countries in the global arena, which has a profound impact on the interests of these countries. "China and the United States should refrain from the urge to gather third-party forces to block and counterbalance each other, nor should they force third parties to choose a side station between China and the United States" as the effect will be counterproductive. "The role of third-party countries should be defined as a common friend rather than an enemy of China and the United States". The more the United States retreats in the face of global responsibilities, the more China should join hands with third-party countries such as the European Union and ASEAN. "By strengthening the role of third parties, it can help promote the formation of a benign situation in which China and the United States actively strive for the support of the international community, and enhance the power and flexibility of the big country game". (ix) In conclusion, it said "China must adjust its strategy toward the United States" and "focus on the long-term, focus on strategic thinking, maintain strategic determination, and work hard at the bilateral, regional, and global levels while striving to "coordinate and interact with the US in a competitive game to create a new reasonable relationship paradigm and avoid falling into the guilty of the "Thucydides trap" advocated by the US. Building a "Community of Human Destiny" is the general trend. Whether it is China or the United States, or a third-party force whose behaviour is greatly affected by the trend of Sino-US relations, it is necessary to look at a broader time and space and have more human perspective".

(Comment: An Gang is a researcher at the Tsinghua University Research Center for Strategy and Security; Wang Yiming, is a doctoral student at the School of International Relations, Renmin University of China; Hu Xin, is a National Defense Technology Associate Professor, Institute of Strategy and Security, University of International Relations.) 

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