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Home >> Opinion
UPDATED: 09:12, June 01, 2006
US should rethink its attitudes to China
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In its Report on the Military Power of the People's Republic of China 2006, which was issued on May 23, the US Defence Department again exaggerates China's defence expenditure and military strength, passes a wanton judgment on China's strategic intentions and continues to trumpet the "China threat."

The report, together with various other US documents coming out in recent years, combine to point to one thing: profound misgivings and worries about China's growth. Without clearing away these fears, a bumpy road lies ahead for Sino-US relations.

US journalists Richard Bernstein and Ross Munro are the most articulate in their book "The Coming Conflict with China," which was published in the mid-1990s. They argue that China's goal is to eventually replace the United States as the most influential player in Asia and that China is Uncle Sam's rival in many respects because its interests are diametrically opposed to those of the United States.

This school of thought has the ear of some US decision-makers and is subscribed to by researchers from influential US think-tanks, despite the fact that some far-sighted Americans expressed different opinions in the debate on the United States' China policy in the mid-1990s.

The first US response to whatever China does regionally and globally is: Is this an act to repel the United States? Will this harm US interests?

This author's personal experience may shed some light on this American bigotry. When China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) launched their bid in 2001 to set up a free-trade zone in the region within 10 years, some US scholars asked their Chinese counterparts why there was all this fuss about 10-plus-1 free-trade zone (China and 10 ASEAN countries), as there was already Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC).

And when it came to the East Asian Summit, which was first conceived by former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, US officials kept asking who was supposed to preside over this undertaking, suspecting that China was pushing for East Asian integration and trying to undercut the United States.

Here is another example. Member states of the Shanghai Co-operation Organization (SCO) suggested at last summer's SCO summit in Astana, Kazakhstan, that US military bases in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan be closed now that the war in