EYESHENZHEN  /   Opinion

Three responsibilities for China and the U.S. to share

Writer: China Plus  | Editor: Jane Chen  | From:  | Updated: 2019-04-07

Note: The following article is taken from the Chinese-language "Commentaries on International Affairs".

When responding to questions from reporters in Washington DC on Thursday, United States President Donald Trump said China and the US have a responsibility for the world, and, if a trade deal could be reached between the two countries, it would be “a tremendous thing” not only for themselves but also for the world at large.

On multiple occasions, President Xi Jinping has stressed that China and the United States share an important responsibility to promote world peace and prosperity. In a message to President Trump delivered by Vice Premier Liu, Xi said that a healthy and stable development of bilateral relations is in the interests of both the Chinese and the American people, as well as the interests of people in the wider world. The development of this relationship, he said, needs the strategic guidance of the two leaders. This message from President Xi was echoed by President Trump when he spoke about the global responsibilities of the two countries.

The world expects China and the United States, as nations with far-reaching global influence, to share global responsibility in three aspects.

The first and foremost is the responsibility to promote development, which is the first priority for any nation. Sustainable economic development requires both new drivers of growth and a balanced approach that addresses the gap between the rich and the poor. As the world’s two biggest players in the world economy, China and the United States share an obligation to lead the global initiative to address the development deficit. Unfortunately, the ongoing trade dispute has contributed to the slowdown in global economic growth and lower global economic projections, with the World Trade Organization recently cutting its estimate for trade growth this year from 3.7 percent to 2.6 percent. However, if China and the United States could reach a mutually-beneficial trade deal, it would no doubt spur global confidence and bolster global development.

Second, China and the United States share the responsibility to maintain world peace. The world still faces plenty of challenges in the form of regional conflicts, global terrorism, and multiplying non-traditional threats to security. As permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, China and the United States must lead global initiatives to resolve the peace deficit and foster certainty and stability. One of the ways China has been working towards this goal recently was the introduction of new regulations that make all fentanyl-related drugs controlled substances. During his meeting with Vice Premier Liu, President Trump expressed his appreciation for the decision, which stands to benefit the global fight against illicit drugs.

And third, in recent years the world has witnessed the rise of unilateralism, protectionism and populism, which has brought unprecedented challenges to the systems of global governance that were established after the end of World War II. The development of the World Trade Organization is a case in point: Many countries, including China and the United States, have made proposals to reform this institution, yet any final decision must be based on the mutual agreement of all parties. The key to addressing the governance deficit is to safeguard the multilateral system of trade, protect the development interests of all nations, and make continuous improvements to the system of global governance. China and the United States have a major role to play in this regard.

China and the United State share such close ties that neither side can expect to escape unscathed should one side decide to inflict damage upon the other. Simply put, the two sides have to learn how to live with each other. As the end of the trade negotiations appears to be drawing near, it is crucial for both sides to manage their differences and explore new frontiers for cooperation. It’s what the people of the two nations expect, and it’s what the wider world is waiting for.