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Stark difference between Pence's words and US' deeds: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-10-25 20:48

File photo: the national flags of China and the US. [Photo/IC]

It was neither the most amicable speech on US-China relations nor the most hostile. Yet, despite harping on the same string as his last major address on China in October last year, US Vice-President Mike Pence's speech at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington on Thursday revealed something new.

Like last year, Pence tried to claim the moral high ground for the United States and criticized almost all of China's practices, both at home and abroad, without any trustworthy evidence. Amid all the rhetoric, though, he surprisingly found some kind words for an "emboldened" China.

Seemingly abandoning efforts to "tame China", Pence's remarks suggest Washington considers the days when it found a friendly partner in Beijing are over, and China, with its economy growing more than nine-fold in the past 17 years, has now become a "strategic and economic rival" whose behavior is "aggressive and destabilizing".

Perhaps the US has decided to no longer deal with China in a condescending manner and, instead, treat the country with so-called overdue equality — synonymous with seriousness in politics.

But, as Pence said, the additional tariffs the US has imposed on Chinese imports are not just an impromptu bargaining chip in the trade talks but more importantly a tool to slow China's economic growth and consolidate the US economy's leading position in the world. That speaks volumes of the ruse the US is deploying against China.

Besides, Pence felt no qualms about standing up for the secessionist Tsai Ing-wen administration in Taiwan and the rioters in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, whom he referred to as "peaceful protesters" in his speech, at the cost of going back on Washington's commitment to the one-China principle and respecting other countries' sovereignty.

That he has made no secret of the US' intention of linking the Hong Kong demonstrations and other so-called human rights issues in China with the on-going trade talks means the broad deal Washington is looking forward to is by no means to just reduce the US' trade deficit. In reality, it is a ploy to contain China's rise even though Pence denied that the US is seeking to "contain China's development" or "decouple" from China.

Washington, it appears, is trying to send out an either-or message to Beijing through Pence's speech that the on-going trade talks offer China "a unique opportunity in history" to have a second thought on its "decoupling with the wider world". The implicate warning is self-evident: if China doesn't accept the offer, it will face a more "resilient" US in the future.

As is his wont, the US vice-president again tried to separate China's leadership from the Chinese people, a trick the US has used time and again in many countries where it has instigated regime change. The future model the Chinese mainland could adopt, Pence said, was the one practiced by Taiwan, meaning a fundamental change in the mainland's political system, which Beijing will never accept.

His proposal, far removed from reality, is aimed at encouraging anti-Beijing forces and turning China into another US-dependent country, and thus will find no takers in China.

The US-China relationship should be developed based on facts and respect for each other's political systems, paths and stages of economic development, not on coercion, which the US believes is its right to use against other countries.

If the US, as Pence said, really wants to accord China the respect that a great power deserves, it should forsake its chronic narcissistic dissociation, for no country on this planet of ours is the savior and none the saved.

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