The South China Morning Post (September 30) reported the remarks of Yuan Nansheng, China's former Consul General in San Francisco and Vice President of the China Institute of International Studies (CIIS), a think-tank of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), in an article posted on September 20, 2020,  on the official Wechat account of Peking University's Institute of International and Strategic Studies outlining what he assessed would be the key changes that would reset bilateral relations once the pandemic is over. He said US policy towards China then would shift to containment towards a "new Cold War". He said "although it is unlikely that China and the US will go down the road of decoupling, this possibility cannot be eliminated and should be given careful attention". Calling for a measured approach, he said "although China has done well in the fight against the pandemic, to see this aas a historic opportunity for China's rise is a strategic misjudgement. If we let populism and extreme nationalism flourish freely in China, the international community could misinterpret this as Beijing pursuing 'China First'." Yuan Nansheng added "the pandemic has heavily burdened the American economy, but this does not mean that the Chinese economy will benefit from this opportunity. With top-notch technology, the biggest consumer market, financial market and global currency, the US could be the first to walk out of the economic crisis and get back on track". He added it was a "misjudgement" to believe that America's superpower status was on the wane. He said Beijing also needed to be alert to the changing dynamics in the “geopolitical triangle” of China, the US and Russia, and that Moscow could benefit from the worsening US-China ties, just as Beijing had done from the rift between Russia and the US. “Decoupling between China and the US would mean that China would become the focus [in the triangle] which would leave little room for Chinese diplomacy,” he said. Yuan Nansheng suggested Beijing should draw on former leader Deng Xiaoping’s foreign policy mantra of “hide your strength, bide your time”, explaining that “Some people think adopting this strategy [of Deng’s] shows weakness – this is a complete misunderstanding … Soldiers flash swords, but in diplomacy put your sword back in its scabbard – it doesn’t have to be revealed for people to know it’s there. Chinese diplomacy needs to be stronger, not just tougher.”

Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map | Email Us
Centre for China Analysis and Strategy, A-50, Second Floor, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi-110057
Tel: 011 41017353