China, US and Win-win Cooperation

At a recent forum in Beijing, China’s Assistant Foreign Minister Le Yucheng noted that the United States and China have the responsibility, as well as the ability and wisdom, to forge a relationship characterized by sound interaction and what he termed as “win-win cooperation”. Acknowledging the ongoing difficulties between the two countries, Le Yucheng said that “like it or not” this new type of relationship needs to be established between the major economies. Referring to a “networked world of myriad challenges” the Assistant Foreign Minister stressed that cooperation is not a choice, it is the choice that Washington needs to make in its efforts to reconcile with China’s rise as an economic power.

This last remark was likely a reference to the statement by US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, in which she revealed that Washington is trying to find a new answer to an age-old question of what happens when an established power meets a rising power – in this case the US and China. With the US still battling to boost its own economy and Europe dealing with an ongoing debt crisis, China is making an impact on world markets that may be difficult for established, but now stressed, economies to deal with.

Shanghai’s Development Research Center has responded to a prediction by the Boston Consulting Group that the United States is expecting a manufacturing renaissance, by acknowledging that if this proves true it will hit the manufacturing industry in China, which is often referred to as the “world’s factory”.

Le Yucheng has also noted that, although China is experiencing tremendous growth, it still has a number of “weak links”. An estimated 128 million Chinese are still living in poverty and 25 million new jobs are needed every year to accommodate citizens moving into the job market. Le Yucheng further stressed that rising powers should not be seen as a challenge or threat, but rather as an important contribution to global markets.

In March, leaders of the BRICS group of countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – met in New Delhi, with the outcome being a determination to play a more active role in global affairs. Representing up to 42 percent of the world’s population, and totaling up to 20 percent of the global GDP, the cooperation of these emerging nations is likely to make an impact on global markets.