US, China rivalry will not lead to war, says expert

The United States and China are moving from cooperative rivalry to competitive rivalry, but the two countries would not go to war, said an expert.

China has posed challenges to the United States militarily and economically, with a mission to realize its ambitious "Chinese dream", which encourages the Chinese people to build their country into a great power in the world, said Roy Kamphausen, senior vice president for research at the National Bureau of Asian Research.

In terms of defense, China has increased defense spending for consecutive years, with a purpose of developing the People's Liberation Army into an unsurmountable force, said Kamphausen.

China's strengthened military buildup and its island building activities in the South China Sea would persistently upset the United States, which sometimes is unable to tell competition from conflict in some "gray zones" where China is accelerating its military modernization, said the former China policy director in the Office of the US Secretary of Defense.

The new US national security strategy, which focuses on "peace through strength" to advance US interests abroad, has highlighted several different threats from powers including China.

The competition is more obvious in the bilateral trade.

Kamphausen believes that the current trade disputes between the United States and China could not simply boil down to US President Donald Trump's working style, saying that it was going to happen sooner or later, because of the nature of the competition between the two countries.

But he said that trade war is not the best option to solve the problems of the two countries.

Previously, Trump accused China of "economic aggression" when he laid out his national security strategy.

The competition has also spilled over to the field of technological innovation, especially in the development of artificial intelligence technology.

The Chinese government has set up a national team made up of the country's leading technology companies including Baidu and Alibaba to delve into high technologies such as artificial intelligence and autonomous driving in an effort to attain the global leadership in innovation.

In race with the United States for the global leadership, China has also some big problems to deal with, including the population aging and the rising debts, which would take a toll on the country's economic prospects, according to Kamphausen.

Now, the United States has taken some pragmatic actions to overcome Chinese challenges including playing the Taiwan card and insisting on the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, where it has no territorial disputes with other countries, noted Kamphausen.

The United States has moved ahead with its decision to send in marines to guard the new offices of the American Institute in Taiwan, the informal "embassy in Taipei", in a latest sign of its desire to strengthen ties with the self-ruled island, which criticized Beijing for reducing its international space. Recently, several countries have cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan after they were reportedly accepting Beijing's economic assistance.

But Kamphausen stressed that the United States and China would not go to war despite the intensifying competition in nearly all aspects. The United States should positively engage in the affairs related to China and use its leverages to create a systematic strategy toward China.

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