Editorial: Living successfully with China | Editorials

Some Americans seem to think that the military burden of our Asia-based forces is excessive and that the United States should abandon its efforts to oppose China’s military and economic aggression. They argue that we should just focus on trade which has, among other benefits, helped to enrich the port of Charleston.

But the volume of trade between the United States and Asia has grown twice as fast as the gross domestic product since 1985, precisely because of the United States’ commitment to guaranteeing freedom of navigation and political stability in Asia. Without the presence of American forces, the Asian miracle would not have happened. If the forces are removed, the potential for disruption is enormous.

This is exactly the point made by Secretary of State Anthony Blinken in an excellent May 26 speech on the Biden administration’s China policy. As he noted, no country has benefited more from US Asia policy than China.

But he also criticized China’s efforts to challenge the rules of international law, addressing some of the same issues deemed vital by the Trump administration. In trade, these include China’s theft of intellectual property, limitation and control of foreign investment, and exclusion of foreign goods from its market. In a challenge to regional security, China has attempted to control access to the South China Sea and has dramatically increased military harassment of Taiwan. It has also secretly built a naval facility in Cambodia, which is only its second overseas outpost, as it bids to become a true world power, The Washington Post reported on Monday.

Unlike the approach taken by then-President Donald Trump, Mr Blinken did not brag about making the Chinese pay by restricting trade until China’s door opened. , although the Biden administration has kept most Trump tariffs intact.

Instead, he said the United States would focus on fostering a “strategic environment” in Asia “to advance our vision of an open and inclusive international system,” while improving state capacity. States to compete with China’s drive for technological dominance and its own vision of a new world order.

This will require investment in research and development, he said, and even subsidies to the chip industry, to improve American technology, stay ahead of Chinese advances and compete with the model. authoritarian Chinese economic development.

It will also require intensified diplomacy to bring together the many democratic nations of Asia and Europe in a common front against Chinese expansion and unfair trade practices.

The effort, Mr. Blinken said, is not aimed at changing China but at persuading it that it cannot succeed in its efforts to dominate. Part of the formula is to be open to cooperation with China when the two nations share common concerns.

This is not a lockdown of the kind once practiced by the United States against the Soviet Union. China is too important a part of the global economy to achieve such containment.

Instead, it’s a new form of the old “open door” diplomacy that guided US-Asia policy before World War II. The open door, in this case, is not for free Western access to China. It is an open door for China to decide for itself, and according to its own timetable, to become a responsible part of the international system. In summary, Mr. Blinken said, “There is no reason why our great nations cannot peacefully coexist, share and contribute together to human progress.

The first Chinese response was to dismiss the rules of the international order cited by Mr. Blinken as an American ploy. But a political setback for China’s efforts to expand its influence in the South Pacific that also happened last week shows that Biden’s new Asia policy could really work.

China had proposed that 10 island nations in the region sign a pact with Beijing that would realign them within China’s zone of influence. But although the pact promised great economic benefits, the nations rejected it.

China will keep trying. It is up to the United States and its friends and allies around the world to rise to the challenge.

Get a weekly roundup of South Carolina opinion and analysis from The Post and Courier delivered to your inbox on Monday nights.

About Dianne Stinson

Check Also

UK defense cyber skills to be boosted through industrial partnership

Defense personnel must be qualified to deal with cyber threats Industry Collaboration to Increase UK …