xi's moments
Home | China-US

Cooperation good for US, China, world

By LIA ZHU | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-08-27 22:21

File photo shows the national flags of China and the United States. [Photo/Xinhua]

Experts are urging the administration of United States President Joe Biden to renew the US-China Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement, which they said had brought "tremendous" benefits to both countries and the world. The agreement expired on Sunday.

"Some of the cooperation is just about being good global citizens. It would not only help the relationship but help the world," said Mark Cohen, director of the Asia IP Project at the University of California's Berkeley Center for Law and Technology.

The center recently organized a webinar, inviting former science officials and scientists to examine the outcomes of the agreement.

"In general, our view was that as peer competitors, the US now has much more to learn from China in areas where it excels. We have also learned that cross-border collaborative research often tends to be of the highest quality," Cohen said.

The research cooperation between the two countries has resulted in achievements that have greatly benefited the US and the rest of the world, said Deborah Seligsohn, former science counselor at the US embassy in China and an assistant professor of political science at Villanova University.

One of the biggest achievements is a study on birth defects, which is listed on the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website as one of its 10 greatest achievements of all time, Seligsohn noted.

The study, which started in the mid-1980s and followed a cohort of 250,000 women and their babies, found that folic acid supplementation prevented spinal bifida, a neural tube defect.

"It has had a tremendous influence worldwide in reducing the prevalence of often-fatal birth defects. And that study continued years after that initial one because it was so good at measuring diet and environmental impacts on pregnancy and babies and has produced lots of information on how to help babies be healthier," said Seligsohn.

Another example is cooperation on fighting influenza. The US and China signed a bilateral agreement in 2004 to support China's efforts to enhance cooperation with the World Health Organization, according to Seligsohn.

As a result, China went from having a handful of sentinel surveillance sites around the country to over 30,000, and developed its lab to the level of a WHO coordinating center, she said.

"This is the critical data that goes into the flu vaccine we get each year. We all are better protected from flu because of the work that the US and China have done together to support the WHO effort," she said.

The cooperation between the two countries on clean energy and climate change has produced "positive and tangible outcomes", and the bilateral cooperation is also important for the global response to climate change, said Joanna Lewis, an associate professor of energy and environment and director of the Science, Technology and International Affairs Program at Georgetown University.

"A lot of this joint work between the US and China … was used to leverage the Paris Agreement and other high-level diplomatic outcomes," she said, because such fundamental engagement helped build trust and allowed for "these broader diplomatic wins".

However, the cooperation has been less active in recent years in part because of growing distrust, said Seligsohn. "It also has been affected by US policy, in particular by the 'China Initiative' during the administration of former US president Donald Trump, which really made scientists nervous about cooperation with China," she said.

The cooperation benefits to the US and the world "have been and continue to be enormous — every effort should be made to maintain such exchanges", wrote Steven Kivelson and Peter Michelson, both physics professors at Stanford University, in an open letter to President Biden.

"If it is not renewed by the US, it is likely to have significant negative impact on ongoing and future scientific exchanges between the US and China," they wrote.

Global Edition
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349