Deep Understanding of the Trade War Allows China More Composure
The US has once again put domestic law above international law by imposing very unreasonable new tariffs on Chinese goods, said a spokesperson of China’s Commerce Ministry on Aug. 8 after the US announced to implement 25 percent tariff on $16 billion worth of Chinese goods since August 23, 2018.
To safeguard its interests and the multilateral trading system, China was forced to make countermeasures. It opted to impose 25 percent tariff on $16 billion worth of US imports, and the tariff is to be implemented in parallel with the US.
The Trump administration insisted on starting a trade war against China and escalated the trade war step by step, attempting to force China into trade concessions through extreme oppression and blackmail.
However, China’s reaction indicates its comprehensive understanding of the trade war, which enables it to handle with calmness.
China knows that the trade war is inevitable. The US is unwilling to see China develop and prosper and then surpass it; therefore it devotes great efforts to maintain its long-time hegemony and the so-called strategic advantages. The US wants to profit from its economic and trade relations with China, and it wants more to contain China’s development.
The Trump administration regards China as its “strategic competitor” which “threatens” the US in terms of geopolitics, strategic security, economy and trade and technology, as well as ideology. Its China policy, based on zero-sum mentality, will not change as China hopes it to. Therefore, China has to cast away illusions and resolutely respond to the US.
China has seen through the double-dealing of the US. The US always treats China with two contrary approaches. It on one hand wants to contact, talk and cooperate with China and on the other hand guards against and oppresses the latter and couldn’t stop containing and confronting the latter.
The Trump administration’s China policy is unconventional and changeable, but it is still a double-faced tactic. In these days, while announcing to increase tariffs on imported Chinese goods, the US also expressed its willingness to resume negotiations with China. In response to this carrot-and-stick diplomacy, China insists on taking reciprocal counteractions through promoting negotiations while fighting the trade war.
China knows that the trade war is tough, and it grants more composure for the country. Inflicted with the largest-ever trade war in world economic history, China will inevitably suffer economic and trade losses, and be confronted with new difficulties in national economic transformation. But just as jade needs to be polished, China also needs to go through trials and tribulations to be strong.
No hardship has ever stopped China from standing up, growing rich and becoming strong. Any external pressure will ultimately be turned into strong impetus for development. China’s development is not a handout from other countries, and it has the ability to withstand pressures from external powers. It will calmly face this obstacle on the course of its rising and accept this test that a major country has to encounter on the path of development.
China sees both the dark and bright sides of the trade war. The country has a belief that challenges can be turned into opportunities. Provoked by the US, China will fight back with wisdom and courage, stay restrained and adopt a long-term prospective. In the US-China trade war, China upholds justice and follows the trends of global development. The country will never be complacent or fear the US. China will continue upholding reform and opening-up and focusing on its own development, as well as adhering to peaceful development. By doing this, the country will finally turn risks into opportunities and walk faster toward high-quality development.
With a long history and profound strategic culture, China has gained rich experience in the fight against foreign forces. In the 1930s and 1940s, Chairman Mao Zedong said, “the War of Resistance against Japan is a protracted war and the final victory will be ours – this is our conclusion”, after in-depth analysis on issues concerning the War.
In the 1980s and 1990s, western countries represented by the US imposed sanctions on China, casting shadow on the latter’s future. However, the chief architect of China’s economic reform Deng Xiaoping firmly believed that nothing could defeat China. History has proved that China was not defeated and put into chaos; instead, it is developing more rapidly and better.
Faced with complicated domestic and international environments, Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed that the country should maintain its strategic composure and have a calm mind in the face of major challenges. He also clearly pointed out that we should not allow our views to be blocked by intricate developments in observing the world.
China is unprecedentedly approaching the center of the international arena, and getting closer to realize the rejuvenation of the nation, while the world is going through unprecedented changes. At this critical moment, a keen insight, a clear mind, decisiveness, and a strong execution will guarantee China to win the trade war and forge ahead.
Perhaps China and the US will not know each other better without the trade war. In history, the two countries have been in conflicts for many times. Trump’s tactic of oppressing, blackmailing, denigrating and demonizing China will not work at all.
(Jia Xiudong is a researcher with the China Institute of International Studies.)