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September 3 Parade is a teaching moment for China-US relations

Editor: Tong Xinxin 丨CCTV.com

09-08-2015 14:04 BJT

By Liu Chang, PhD student of China Foreign Affairs University

Great global attention has been given to China’s September 3 parade at Tiananmen Square, in Beijing since Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke about remembering the  history and pushing forward  peaceful development. The parade shows China’s determination to safeguard its national security and world peace, which inspires peace-loving forces at home and abroad.

However, some observers have expressed concerns over relations between China and the United States, because President Obama did not attend the ceremony, while President Xi mentioned the casualties of the Soviet Union specifically without saying anything about the US.

Meanwhile, Obama spoke highly of the U.S.-Japanese relationship in his statement on the “70th Anniversary Commemorating the End of World War II in the Pacific” that was given on the day before China’s parade.

Obama said, “the relationship between our two countries over the last 70 years stands as a model of the power of reconciliation: former adversaries who have become steadfast allies and who work together to advance common interests and universal values in Asia and globally,” but without mentioning China.

It appears that America has forgotten that China stood as their loyal ally during the war. Apparently, matters may not seem that simple. Leaders of both sides have shown their sincerities to each other through special channels.

National security advisor Susan Rice complimented China’s contributions to the war and the post-war friendship during her visit to Beijing on August 28-29, but some Chinese are upset that Obama was absent at China’s V-Day ceremony. 

Additionally, President Xi Jinping awarded former members of the American Volunteer Group (AVG, known as, “Flying Tigers”) with medals as the greatest honor and courtesy of the highest standards in appreciating their contributions and sacrifices for the Chinese people.

Accordingly, Beijing and Washington still maintain a balanced bilateral relationship with “strategic tacit understanding”.

As close friends and allies in World War II, China and the US had fought battles together and sacrificed greatly to build a new world order that has lasted long afterwards. Hence, Obama should have attended China’s V-Day ceremony.

However, international circumstances have changed dramatically in the last seven decades. As China keeps rising, America begins to view China as a threat.

Infuriated by the “collective” action of some Western countries’  including the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Australia to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Washington forced its allies’ presidents and prime ministers not to attend China’s parade.

Nevertheless, Washington still relies on Beijing’s help to stabilize global markets and exchange rates. During her visit to Beijing, Rice   asked the Chinese government not to dump U.S. Treasuries, while she praised China’s sacrifices during World War II.

As President Xi said, “in the interest of peace, we need to foster a keen sense of a global community of shared future”. China and the US have formed a complex community of interests and destinies on the bilateral level over the past 35 years, along with geopolitical relations throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

American policy elites believe that China is or inevitably will be an adversary to them.

While its allies and partners in this part of the world may “welcome” America’s presence in the face of an increasingly proactive China in order to “balance” China’s rise, they will not welcome Washington showing its hostility against Beijing at the cost of losing their significant economic, political and cultural ties with China.

Hopefully these two powers can manage their differences to lower tensions in the region. President Xi is fostering “a keen sense of a global community of shared future”.

The two major powers have constructed a global order and international system after WWII., and should work together to “uphold the international order and system underpinned by the principles of the UN Charter to build a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation and advance global peace and development”.

The US is strengthening the U.S.-Japanese bilateral alliance to adjust its “rebalancing” strategy, and to forge a new type of regional security architecture.

American leaders should recognize the existing regional and global political order represented by the United Nations and other major international institutions as the foundation that isolated Japan for its war crimes.

It is irresponsible for the US, based on selfish interests, to endorse Japan’s right-leaning actions such as the legislation of the new security bills.

China’s commitment to reduce its troops by 300,000 has demonstrated Beijing’s support of stability and peace in this region, which shows that China can be a reliable partner for the US.

The so called "strategic tacit understanding” may still dominate both sides, but more positive steps can be taken to deepen mutual understanding so that a more effective mechanisms for crisis and opportunity management can be established as the two presidents will meet in the United States later this month.

Jeffery A. Bader, the former special assistant to the White House for national security affairs and now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, said, “the US should not discard the approach taken by eight presidents since Nixon in favor of an assumption of inevitable hostility and a strategy of across-the-board rivalry that may be compelling in international relations theory, but which no president has found persuasive.”

Americans should change their perceptions of China and facilitate cooperation, so that both powers can enjoy a bright future.


( The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )



Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

Panview offers an alternative angle on China and the rest of the world through the analyses and opinions of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.


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