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Major Global Changes: New Developments in China-US Relations

来源:中国日报    2018-07-27 13:38

        The world is undergoing a once-in-a-century transformation. This is recognized worldwide; however, different countries and different schools of thought hold different perspectives. In general terms, the post-Second World War order is struggling to cope with some global contemporary challenges, including the following: greater strength among the great powers again and an uniquely ferocious contest focused on centers of power, wherein determining friends, partners, and opponents is extremely complex; economic issues are strongly politicized and protectionism, isolationism, and the desire for hegemonism are rampant, which seriously impact the existing rule-based order designed to promote economic growth; the US and other developed Western countries have teamed up to impose technology blockades on other countries so that they can dominate the core technologies of the fourth industrial revolution and maintain future development rights.        世界正在经历百年未有之大变革,这已成为全球的共识。然而,不同的国家、不同的学派有着不同的认知和解读。总体看,战后确立的世界秩序已经很难甚至不能应对频频出现的各种世界性、时代性新挑战。这些挑战主要表现为:大国地缘政治強势回归,围饶权力中心较量空前激烈,敌友、伙伴、对手关系定位更趋复杂;经济问题强烈政治化,保护主义、孤立主义、为所欲为的霸权主义横行,严重冲击有利于经济增长的基于规则的既有秩序;西方发达国家联手对其他国家进行技术封锁,占领和牢牢掌握第四次产业革命的核心技术,紧握未来发展权。
        Against the backdrop of these major global changes, China-US relations have undergone new profound changes and corresponding policy adjustments.        在世界大变革的背景下,中美关系同步发生着新的具有相当深度的变化和相应的政策调整。
        First, the US has significantly adjusted its strategic positioning vis-à-vis China, from uncertainty to strategic competition, with US political parties, the government, the military and think tanks forming the opinion that China poses a challenge to US hegemony and that America needs to get real and adopt measures to counter China. Policy elites in the US have played a leading role in adjusting their country's approach to China. Hardliners have gradually become the mainstream, while moderates have been left out in the cold. The hardliners believe that as long as they keep China down, the US will prevail. US academics, businesspeople, and military personnel all support Trump's unique vision of American exceptionalism.        一是美国的对华战略定位发生明显的重大变化,从“不确定”转变为“战略竞争者",党派、政府、军界、智库等形成共识,认为中国有能力有意愿挑战美国的霸权地位,美国应该丢掉幻想,采取多种方式制衡中国。在调整对华政策的方向上,政治精英们扮演着先锋作用,强硬派渐成主流,温和派噤若寒蝉。他们认为,只要敲打中国,美国必胜。“秀才群”、“商业圈”和“武夫帮群”的汇聚支撑起了特朗普例外政策的独特风景线。
        Second, economic and trade friction have become the new norm in China-US relations, as well as an important part of the Trump administration's tough stance on China. “Trade war” and “flip-flop” are the buzzwords of this new state of affairs. After the second round of trade consultations between China and the US averted a trade war, both American supporters and detractors of a trade war with China criticized Trump for backing down. United States Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin publicly claimed that Trump could choose to introduce tariffs at any time. The threat of a trade war loomed large as it escalated from bilateral to multilateral, from trade to investment, and across ever more products and industries. Threats have also been made to renegotiate the terms of China's accession to the WTO and its status as a market economy, or even review China's investments in the US on the grounds of national security. All of this has undermined the vital role economics and trade play in China-US relations. It is clear that a trade war is only the forerunner to tensions in China-US relations; Made in China 2025 is the US's major objective.        二是经贸碰撞将成中美关系紧张的新常态,更成为特朗普政府对华强硬政策的重要组成部分。在这样的形势下,“贸易战”和“变脸戏法”成了中美关系中的关键词。当中美第二轮贸易磋商达成“停止”贸易战共识后,美国内部支持和反对贸易战的声音均批评特朗普“输了”,姆努钦财长更公开声称,总统根据中国的履约情况“可以随时决定恢复关税”。贸易战的大棒时刻高悬,从双边到多边,从贸易到投资,领域与范畴扩大。美方或声称要重谈中国入世条件和市场经济地位,或以“国家安全”为由,审查中国赴美投资,阻遏、削弱经贸在中美关系中的压舱石作用。不难看出,贸易战只是中美关系紧张的前戏,“中国制造2025”才是美国的重要目标。
        Third, the US insists its one-China policy has not changed. This is something the US has paid lip-service to during various dialogues on China-US relations. Nevertheless, for some time now, the US has claimed that the Chinese mainland was the first to upset the status quo in the Taiwan Strait. This is an attempt to conceal US ambitions to strengthen US-Taiwan relations to make Taiwan better able to resist and contain the mainland. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 was a watershed document. It not only allows ports of call by the US navy in Taiwan and for US Pacific Command to receive ports of call by Taiwan, it also requires the Pentagon to submit a report of recommendation to Congress within six months of receiving an arms sale request from Taiwan. This is tantamount to making arms sales to Taiwan a compulsory regulation and indicates that the US's Taiwan policy is becoming more official. Moreover, shortly after the Taiwan Travel Act was adopted, US officials travelled to Taiwan to attend various functions. The US has also supported Taiwan on the international stage and rallied allies including Australia and Japan to the cause. The US has even suggested that a US-Taiwan free trade agreement could be signed and that Taiwan could be included in the US's Indo-Pacific Strategy. The US is intent on having an unsinkable aircraft carrier to restrict China's movements. It is not only seeking to violate China's sovereignty by insisting on freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, but also dreams of crossing the Taiwan Straits to challenge China's core interests. The US is adopting an offensive approach in its strategic game with China.        三是美方坚持“一中”政策没有变,这是美方在各种中美关系对话中说得很顺口的一句话,然而一个时期以来,美国更多强调中国大陆一方首先破坏了台海现状,以此掩盖它更积极主动全面强化美台关系的言行,以增强台湾牵制和抵抗大陆的能力。《2018财年国防授权法案》具有分水岭意义,它不仅涉及美台军舰互访内容,还要求国防部在收到台湾方面军售请求半年之内向国会提交答复建议报告。这无异于把对台军售作为一项强制性法规固化,预示美国的对台政策朝着官方化方向向前迈出了一步。紧随其后的《台湾旅行法》出台,更为美国官方赴台出席各类活动埋下伏笔。美国还在国际舞台上为台湾撑腰,拉拢日本、澳大利亚等盟友支持台湾,甚至炒作商签美台自贸协定,把台湾列入其印太战略的一枚棋子。美国激活“不沉航母”制约中国的动向令人深思,它不仅在南海借航行自由侵犯中国主权,还叫嚷要穿越台湾海峡,挑战中国核心利益。这说明美国在以更具进攻性的方式与中国进行战略博弈。
        Rising Chinese power is an underlying reason for the US's change in policy. Historically, the GDP of an upcoming country has been allowed to reach 60% of that of the hegemonic power before the latter takes action. Both the Soviet Union in the 1970s and Japan in the 1980s were brought down a peg or two by the US upon reaching that milestone. Now it is China's turn. Many people in the US elite have fundamentally changed their views and thinking on China. They openly believe that the policy of engagement with China has failed and that China is closer to the center of the world stage than ever before and wishes to replace the US as a new world leader. A bipartisan consensus has been forged out of the sense of urgency this has engendered. It seems that the US political elite believes that there is a fundamental conflict between the two countries' strategic goals of rejuvenating the Chinese nation and making America great again, with contradictions that are difficult to reconcile. Structural and institutional differences between China and the US are bound to put China-US relations on shaky ground from time to time.        中美力量对比达到关键节点,这是美国对华政策调整的深层原因。一般情况下,崛起国GDP达到霸权国的60%,是后者的容忍极限,两国容易发生冲突。上世纪70年代的苏联、80年代的日本均是在这个节点上遭到美国的打击,现在轮到中国了。美国精英阶层等不少人对中国的认知和心理发生了根本性变化,公开认为对华“接触”政策失败,怀疑中国“前所未有地靠近世界舞台中心”意在取代美国成为新的世界领袖。焦虑也好,忧患意识也罢,美国对华示强渐成跨党派共识。看来,美国政治精英普遍认为,“中华民族伟大复兴”与“让美国再伟大”的两国战略目标之间存在根本冲突,矛盾难以调和。中美关系的结构性和制度性差异,会不时地置中美关系于如履薄冰的境地。
        The US' China policy is not finalized. There are infinite opportunities within the challenges that frame China-US relations. Opportunities outweigh challenges, and there is more common ground than differences. Trump loves to create chaos for the benefit of the US, but even he has a limit, and it seems unlikely that the US is prepared to go toe-to-toe with China. It is likely that rational and moderate voices in the US as well as interest groups will not want to give up access to China's huge $8 trillion-market. In this era of free-flowing information, fewer young people are deceived by fake news and fabricated public opinion. More than half of them have been shown to have positive feelings towards China. They are the future of China-US relations.The contact, confrontation, control, and cooperation that has characterized China-US relations over the past four decades has created a considerable degree of integration between our two countries as well as a certain degree of endogenous convergence not engendered by human will. Messing with this natural law will undoubtedly hurt both parties. The leadership abilities of the heads of state have become the anchor of stability in China-US relations and have proved valuable in the current era.        不过,美国对华政策尚未最后确定,中美关系挑战中仍蕴藏着无限机遇,机遇大于挑战,合作多于分歧。特朗普喜欢搅乱天下而让美国获利,但他仍有某种限度,美方似乎还未最终做与华对决的准备。中国8万亿美元的巨大市场,美国内部的理性温和声音,使利益集团不会放弃合作的主张。越来越多的青年人,在信息高度自由流动的今天,不致被假新闻、伪與论所蒙骗,他们对中国的好感度超过50%,他们才是中美关系的未来。中美关系经过40多年的接触、碰撞、管控、合作,形成了相当程度的你中有我、我中有你的融和局面,使中美关系产生了一定程度的不以人的意志为转移的内生聚力,打破这种自然规律必将两败俱伤。两国领导人的引领作用成为中美关系发展的稳定之锚,这在当今时代难能可贵。
        In this time of great change, China-US relations constitute an indispensable partnership for both parties and the rest of the world. Managing differences is commonplace on long journeys, and cooperation and mutual benefit should be pursued by both sides. The positive evolution of world order depends on healthy China-US relations. Under the new type of international relations, China's policy of a global community with a shared future could be a historic contribution to the new era of China-US relations. To achieve this ultimate goal, China and the US need to understand each other better, clearly define their boundaries, and come up with new ways of thinking and acting.        在这个大变革的时代,中美关系更显得是一对不可或缺的伙伴关系,对两国对全球都是如此。管控分歧是漫漫旅途中的家常便饭,合作共赢是双方的不二选择。世界秩序的积极演化将由中美关系的健康发展引导。新型国际关系、人类命运共同体或将成为中美关系新时代的历史性贡献。要达到这一最高目标,中美两国需要相互适应,需要提高境界,需要创新发展思维和路径。
        Adversaries or partners? Today's tensions do not need to turn into tomorrow's war. Both sides are the focus of each other's strategies. This is the biggest recent change in China-US relations.        对手乎?伙伴乎?今天的紧张未必是明天的战争。双方均处在对方战略棋谱上的首要位置,这应该是中美关系最大的新变化。

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