The world is going through profound changes unseen in a century, and the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating such changes, leading to increasing instability and uncertainty of the international situation.
The disease, which is considered the worst pandemic in 100 years, has plunged the global economy into a severe contraction and impacted people’s livelihood. At the same time, the international order is also facing unprecedented threat from unilateralism, protectionism and hegemonic bullying since the end of World War II.
Some said the world has entered its darkest hours. Neither can it go back to the past nor see the future.
Every coin has two sides. The pandemic further reminded the world of the importance of a community with a shared future for mankind, as the interests of countries are closely connected, and the world is an inseparable community. No country shall be isolated in this global crisis. To defeat the crisis, the international society must work in solidarity and collaboration. The global governance is also in dire need of improvement for better preparation of future crises.
With great power there must also come great responsibility. China and the U.S. are the world’s largest developing and developed countries, as well as the largest two economies that contribute 40 percent of the global economy. They are both permanent members of the United Nations (UN) Security Council, having a big influence over world peace, security and development.
The two countries have gained rich experiences of cooperation over the past years to cope with challenges. They carried out counter terrorism cooperation in 2001, and worked together to deal with the global financial crisis in 2008. In 2014, they joined hands to fight the Ebola virus, and jointly promoted the reaching of the Paris Agreement two years later. Practices prove that China and the U.S. are able to make many accomplishments that benefit both themselves and the world.
However, as countries grapple with the pandemic and try to save the economy and people, some U.S. politicians are blaming China, fanning the so-called “decoupling” with the later and trying to establish an “anti-China Crusade.” Such practice not only failed to solve the problem of the U.S., but also impeded the country’s efforts to fight COVID-19 and slowed the world’s anti-pandemic progress. Instead of containing China’s development, it in turn triggered panic and dislike from the international society.
Some state leaders called on the U.S. to stop establishing the so-called “anti-China alliance” which runs against the will of countries. Insightful U.S. observers also said they are not willing to see two parallel worlds.
When the new U.S. administration takes office, China-U.S. relations will stand at a new starting point. It is expected by the international society that the new administration will turn around its policies toward China and work with the country to solve the tricky problems faced by the world today. Many suggest that the two countries expand cooperation on global issues, which will both contribute their wisdom and strength to the world and promote the development of their bilateral relations.
U.S. President-elect Joe Biden believes that the U.S. is currently going through historic crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic, economic recession and climate change, so pandemic control, economic recovery and measures to cope with climate change shall be priorities. These problems are indeed an epitome of today’s global challenges which cannot be solved by the U.S. alone. To address these problems calls for the cooperation of the international society, including China.
Another major issue faced by China and the U.S. is how the human society will develop in the post-pandemic era. Many people compare today’s crisis to the Great Depression, but no one wants the stories of 1930s and 1940s to happen again. The choices and actions made by the two countries today are of vital importance for the world peace, stability and prosperity in the future.
China and the U.S. share a same future. How should they get rid of the COVID-19 pandemic and global economic recession? What should they do to build a better world in the post-pandemic era? How should they maintain world peace and stability amid profound changes? The two countries must start from the common interests of mankind and meet each other halfway, so as to take their responsibility and complete their missions as major countries.
Negotiation is a core value of multilateralism. Therefore the U.S. shall alter its hegemonic mindset and deal with international affairs together with the rest of the world in a fair and equal manner. To practice multilateralism is not a theory, but action. The urgent need today is to work in collaboration to fight the virus. The U.S. shall stop politicizing the pandemic and stigmatize other countries. It must work together with China to support the leading role of the World Health Organization (WHO) in pandemic control and promote collective response for control and treatment at the international level, so as to help the international society achieve an early win over the common enemy of mankind. Multilateralism aims at promoting solidarity, not separation. To form cliques and practice bloc politics in the name of multilateralism is never allowed.
The rise of global challenges and incapable global governance are major contradictions facing the world today. China and the U.S. shall seek maximum common ground and try to eliminate the deficit of global governance. They shall uphold the principle of wide consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits to advance the progress of international and regional hotspot issues, support the World Trade Organization (WTO) to enhance its effectiveness and authority through reforms, jointly implement international consensus on coping with climate change, and enhance cooperation and dialogue on public health, poverty and disaster reduction, non-proliferation, energy security and financial security. They shall also jointly fight transnational crimes and terrorism, and expand cooperation in new areas such as cyberspace, outer space, deep sea, and polar region. Disputes must be solved through dialogues, rather than threats from hot war, cold war or trade war.
The post-war international order jointly built by China and the U.S., and the rest of the world has offered important guarantee for the long-term stability and prosperity of the world. It shall be inherited and protected. There is only one system in the world – the international system with UN at the core. There is only one rule in the world – the international rule based on the UN Charter. China and the U.S., as major countries, shall take the lead to safeguard the system and rule, protect the international order based on international law, promote the democratization of international relations, and advance international justice and equality. They must not pursue exceptionalism or double standards, let alone overturning the current system or establishing a new one.
Development is the master key to solving all problems. It shall be used to build a better world in the post-pandemic era. China and the U.S. should jointly build an open world economy, promote free trade, support fair competition, safeguard the security and stability of global industrial and supply chains, and advocate green and sustainable development.
The two countries shall take the opportunity of the global economic digitalization, expand international cooperation on scientific innovation, enhance dialogue and coordination on artificial intelligence, smart city construction and digital currency, promote the making of global digital governance rules, and build an open, fair, just and nondiscriminatory environment for digital development, for higher-quality and stronger resilience of global development.
In human history, the critical moments of choice are but a few. The world has once again come to a crossroads of history, where mistake or hesitation is never allowed. The U.S. must make the right choice and work with China to take its major country responsibility, so as to lead the human society toward openness and inclusiveness, win-win results, and stability and prosperity.