One of China’s leading experts on international affairs says the US has launched a new “Cold War” against China, with Washington potentially wielding an advantage due to its leadership of advanced Western economies.
In an interview with Guancha.cn, Jin Canrong (金灿荣), professor at the International Affairs Faculty of Renmin University and a US studies specialist, said that recent moves by the Biden Administration are tantamount to the declaration of a cold war against China.
“I place particular importance on the first National Security Strategy report released by the Biden administration on 12 October last year,” Jin said.
“This report further raised China’s profile, positioning China as the only country capable of and intending to comprehensively challenge the United States, while at the same time downgrading the United States’ position on Russia.
“In my view, the release of this report signifies the official launch of a ‘new cold war’ by the United States against China – it cannot be called a ‘US-China new cold war’ yet, as it is currently a unilateral action by the United States against China, and China should not fight back.
Jin said that next decade will be an especially fraught period for Sino-US relations, as hawks in Washington make haste to contain China’s rise.
“It can be said that this report sets the tone that China is the United States’ primary adversary. It also states that the next ten years are crucial, and the United States must contain China within the next ten years. They estimate that if they cannot solve the China problem within the next ten years, they will have no chance to do so in the future.
“This ‘new cold war’ is somewhat similar to the logic of the past Cold War: first, establish a global and comprehensive adversary, previously the Soviet Union, and now China. Second, apply pressure in all areas without leaving any gaps, and third, establish a ‘fence’ and avoid direct conflict.”
US retains upper-hand in trade disputes
Jin that while China has held up well in ongoing trade disputes with the US, Washington continues to retain the upper-hand given its leadership of the Western economic system.
“After more than five years of the China-U.S. trade war, China has managed to maintain stability,” Jin said. “However, the power balance between China and the U.S. outside of the trade war has not changed, nor has the overall advantage of U.S. power in a larger system – the US as the leader of the West currently retains a dominant position.
“A trade war is still just a localized ‘war’, and for the most part, it’s been the U.S. attacking and China defending. From this current perspective, China has managed to hold its ground.
“However, outside of the trade war, there are still industry wars and technology wars on that are ongoing, and there may be financial wars in the future.
“The basic situation is that the U.S. is strong and China is weak, so it’s still too early to draw conclusions.”
US dollar dominance set to continue
There has recently been much speculation about the decline of the US dollar as the global reserve currency, due to concerns about many nation-state actors over its potential to be used as a weapon via the imposition of sanctions, particularly in the wake of the war in Ukraine.
Such speculation is also accompanied by talk of the potential for the Chinese renminbi to replace the US dollar as the dominant international currency. These opinions have becoming increasingly prominent following the recent striking of deals by Beijing with Saudi Arabia and Brazil for the direct use of the renminbi for bilateral trade purposes.
In Jin’s opinion, however, it is unlikely that the renminbi will replace the US dollar as the global reserve currency at any time in the near future.
“Replacing dollar settlement with local currency settlement is still an experimental move for some countries and has not yet been institutionalized,” Jin said.
“This means that in terms of the transformation of the system of US dollar hegemony, these efforts are important beginnings but are still in their early stages. The dollar hegemony system is still far from undergoing significant changes.
“One current dilemma is that many are dissatisfied with the US dollar and want to break free from their dependence on it, but they have not yet found a good alternative. Some regions or groups have made some small attempts, but there is still no universal consensus globally.”