China and the US to discuss strategic cooperation

06.06.2016

In China, the eighth round of The US–China Strategic and Economic Dialogue began. The participants are the Chinese Premier Wen Wang Yang and a member of the State Council of China Yang Jiechi, and representatives of the US side: Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew. At the opening ceremony of the dialogue, Chinese President Xi Jinping pronounced future cooperation in the pacific instead of confrontation.

The meaning of the event

The US–China Strategic and Economic Dialogue as a format of bilateral cooperation between the two largest economies in the world was established in 2009 as a result of high-level talks between the leaders of the US and China. It has not only economic dimensions, but also an evident political one too. A wide range of issues is discussed, including those related to security, geopolitics, and geo-strategy. The United States had planned to transform the dialogue into an instrument of implementation of the "G-2" strategy - the US and China as superpowers that determine the future world order. Thus, a US-Chinese tandem would be an alternative to a multipolar world order. Although China has refused this idea, the dialog still has this implicit dimension.

Disagreements between the US and China

At present, China is the world's second largest economy after the United States. Serious disagreements between the countries in geopolitics and geo-economics remain. China and the United States oppose each other in the Pacific region (particularly in the South China Sea), in Afghanistan and Central Asia and in Africa, where there is a struggle between spheres of influence. Geo-economic competition also persists. Created in China last year, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank has become one of the elements of an alternative to the global financial system that is orientated to the United States. The United States, in turn, through the creation of mechanisms for the Trans-Pacific and Trans-Atlantic Partnerships, which does not include China and Russia, are trying to create a new global economic order in which it will be the US who determines the rules of the game.

Limits of confrontation

At the same time, China and the United States are the main foreign trade partners. Economic interdependence (especially China's dependence on the American market) softens the conflict between the two countries. The US and China’s confrontation is not so sharp and geopolitically determined as the confrontation between Russia and the US. From a geopolitical point of view, China is part of the territory of the Eurasian Rimland, and has not strictly a continental identity, but a mixed geopolitical one. Therefore, China can afford to compromise with a thalassocratic pole, and some its projects even play against the interests of other Eurasian states. An example of such an initiative is the "New Silk Road" from China through Central Asia to Europe bypassing Russia.