US President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping are set to meet this month in Buenos Aires. Photo: Reuters/Damir Sagolj
US President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping are set to meet this month in Buenos Aires. Photo: Reuters/Damir Sagolj

Historically, China has been a civilization of peace and tolerance. During the past four decades, China has not fought any war or engaged in any hostile action against any nation. China has put aside all disputes and differences with other nations and focused on its own development. As a result, China has emerged as the second-largest economy and is expected to surpass the US by 2027.

China has come across many difficult situations during this period, but always resolved such issues diplomatically. A recent example is the Doklam standoff with India, which was eventually resolved peacefully. Regaining sovereignty over Hong Kong and Macau was an example of international diplomacy at its best. Without firing a single bullet or any other violence, China resolved major issues. China is also very flexible and tolerant where the Diaoyudao/Senkaku and South China Sea issues are concerned.

In the current trade war with the US, China has offered to engage in talks to resolve differences. In international issues, it is very natural and common to have differences or even disputes. But there is always space for resolution. The best weapon of the civilized world is diplomacy. Through dialogue and diplomacy, any big issue can be overcome. China has demonstrated that it can be successful at this in the past and has shown a willingness to resolve any problem with any nation through dialogue.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited China early this week and held talks with Chinese officials. China on Monday urged the United States to improve its behavior, respect its rights and stop damaging its interests, stressing the need for both countries to follow the path of win-win cooperation, rather than veering toward conflict.

The win-win philosophy is a Chinese characteristic that is totally different from the Western philosophy: “Your loss is my benefit, your damage is my achievement, and harming the other is my victory.” Maybe the West is not aware of the win-win philosophy, or may not have come across it, but it is well understood and practiced in China.

Since the beginning of the trade war with the US, China has demonstrated patience and tolerance and tried its best to avoid confrontation. I believe this is centuries-old Chinese wisdom to avoid confrontations. But aggressive and unilateral behavior by the US has left China with no choice but to impose reciprocal tariffs on US imports. Yet US hostility toward China is intensifying; its anti-Beijing rhetoric is growing louder. Under these circumstances, the Chinese are forced to take strong positions.

During Pompeo’s visit, Yang Jiechi, director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, said China had “openly demonstrated its position and lodged solemn representations to the US side on the negative remarks it had made against China,” Xinhua reported. He said China would firmly safeguard its sovereignty, security and development interests.

Since the beginning of the trade war with the US, China has demonstrated patience and tolerance and tried its best to avoid confrontation

Yang called on the United States to “make right choices and meet China halfway to seriously implement important consensus the two heads of state have reached in their several meetings.”

He added, “To guarantee bilateral relations follow the right path, the two countries should properly handle differences on the basis of mutual respect and expand pragmatic cooperation on the basis of mutual benefit.”.

This is the first time China has expressed such sentiments. It means Washington’s anti-China policies have crossed a red line, and China had to share its views with the visiting US secretary of state. Usually, the Chinese are very hospitable and welcome any foreign dignitary with traditional warmth and avoid using harsh language and maintain a respectful tone. By nature, Chinese people are polite as it is a face-conscious nation. But this time, during the meeting, a clear message was conveyed.

“China urges the US side to abide by the one-China principle and the regulations of the three China-US Joint Communiqués, stop official and military contact with Taiwan, revoke arms sales to Taiwan, stop unreasonable intervention in countries that have established or are hoping to establish relations with China, restrain ‘Taiwan independence’ forces, so as to maintain China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait through practical actions,” Wang said.

It is up to the US to think wisely and avert any damage to China, to the global economy and the world in general, as any confrontation between China and the US may harm the global economy and world peace.

It is hoped that both sides will continue the path of dialogue. Both sides understand each other’s concerns very well and try their best to resolve all issues. We wish for a “stable and prosperous” world. We also have the obligation to hand over a peaceful and developed world to the next generation. Let’s join hands of trust, cooperation and friendship for our common goals and set aside our differences for a better tomorrow. Let’s struggle to save the global economy, stability and prosperity.

Zamir Awan

Professor Zamir Ahmed Awan is a sinologist at the National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) Chinese Studies Center of Excellence, Islamabad, Pakistan. Posted to the Pakistani Embassy in Beijing as science counselor (technical affairs) from 2010-16, he was responsible for promoting cooperation between Pakistan and China in science, technology, and higher education.

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