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U.S. should share power with China in Asia Pacific: Australian strategist

08-16-2012 17:34 BJT

CANBERRA, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- The United States should treat China as equals and Australia's relations with the two powers will affect its future economy and security,Hugh White, a renowned Australian strategist said in a recent interview with Xinhua.

White, who is also a professor at the Australian National University, has been the focus of a heated debate since his new book "The China Choice" was launched last week. While people's views on his book may differ, they agreed it raised an important issue.

White told Xinhua on Wednesday that the economic transformation of China is one of the most remarkable events in global affairs for one or two centuries that marks a fundamental redistribution of power in the region.

He argued in the book that the United States has three choices: it can compete, share power or concede leadership. The best option he suggested is America sharing power with China and relinquishing its supremacy.

"My view is that the U.S and China should be willing to share power and treat one another as equals. So China will play a bigger role in Asia, the United States will play a smaller role in Asia, but they both remain very significant players."

"I do think the United States has a very significant role to play in Asia Pacific security. I think the U.S. role in Asia has contributed to stability in the western Pacific in the past, particularly in the 40 years since the end of the Vietnam war."

However, if the United States tries to play the same role in Asia in the future as it has in the past, a role of leadership, that would be very destabilizing because, in White's opinion, China is unwilling to accept that.

As for the disputes over Diaoyu Islands and the South China Sea, White said: "I don't believe China has expansionist territorial aspirations and I think it's perfectly reasonable that China should seek to defend its own position in contested territorial issues, such as in the South China Sea."

However, he also expressed the belief that as any country throughout the history has done, as its power grows, China becomes ambitious to be a more influential power.

"Particularly for China with its history of leadership in the Asia Pacific, I think it's pretty natural and understandable that China should seek a bigger leadership position in Asia. I don't think there's any reason why the rest of Asia should be concerned about this."

"It depends, of course, on how China's leadership aspiration evolves, what it means and how it's managed. My argument in my book "The China Choice" is that the United States and the rest of Asia should accept that China, as its power grows, will play a bigger role in Asia but that China should also accept that it is not going to be in a position to dominate Asia."

As for Australia, White believed that Australia wants to be a middle power, able to defense itself in a probably more contested Asia. Therefore, he said the country needs to reconsider its spending on its armed force.

Editor:James |Source: Xinhua

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