Beijing extended an olive branch to its arch-rival, the US, a day before the Communist Party Congress where Xi Jinping is expected to install himself in the power corridors of China for perpetuity.
Reportedly, in a press conference on the eve of the Congress, China’s deputy propaganda chief Sun Yeli said that US and China must get along.
“China-US ties concern the world’s future, and whether we can handle relations with each other is the question of the century that both countries need to answer well,” said Sun.
“We have never believed in the so-called Thucydides Trap. We also oppose the idea that ‘a strong country must seek hegemony’ and the mindset of zero-sum game thinking,” added Sun.
The Chinese leader was referring to the popular theory coined by American political scientist Graham T. Allison which states that the rise of a new power inadvertently leads to an escalation of tensions with an existing superpower.
He added that the two countries are expected to play a leading role to promote global cooperation. Thus, cooperation between Washngton and Beijing was necessary.
“There are many challenges in today’s world that require cooperation between the two countries. The international community generally expects China and the United States to play a leading role, assume the responsibilities of major powers, stabilise bilateral relations, and promote global cooperation.”
It is a rather welcome move from Beijing that it wants to mend ties. However, the timing is bit suspicious as it comes in the backdrop of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi undertaking a rather provocative trip to Taiwan just a few months back. Similarly, Washington, earlier this month imposed sweeping export controls on advanced, high-performance computing chips, much to the chagrin of Beijing.
While some experts believe that Xi is a changed man, others suggest that the Chinese President is simply making sure that his coronation as the biggest leader of China after Mao Zedong goes without any conflict, as he wears the cloak of a statesman, albeit momentarily.