No Happily Ever After: 'Strategic Disagreements' Divide China, US

© AFP 2022 / Greg BAKERUS President Barack Obama (L) walks with Chinese President Xi Jinping
US President Barack Obama (L) walks with Chinese President Xi Jinping - Sputnik International
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Ahead of Xi Jinping's first state visit to the US, both sides have made every effort to downplay the differences plaguing bilateral relations, however the National Interest is convinced that strategic disagreements between Beijing and Washington are "intractable" and cannot be reconciled.

Officers and soldiers of China's People's Liberation Army hold a flag and weapons during a training session for a military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two, at a military base in Beijing, China, August 22, 2015 - Sputnik International
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Key recent points of contention between the US and China include tensions over the South China Sea, the devaluation of the yuan, major cyberattacks on the US allegedly launched by Chinese hackers and blooming Sino-Russian relations.

Naturally, in his opinion piece, political analyst Denny Roy blamed China for putting a spoke in the wheel of what would otherwise be a harmonious relationship.

The senior fellow at the East-West Center discounted a recent call of Cui Tiankai, China's envoy to the US, to focus on areas of mutual interest and claimed that in a nutshell Xi Jinping's message during his visit will be the following: "you Americans need to stop doing things we don't like, and then we can be great friends."

Roy appears to be unconvinced that China genuinely wants to foster good relations with the US.

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"Sticking to or focusing on shared goals and interests sounds like something you would say to your neighbor immediately after stealing his cow: let's not bicker about the stolen cow, let's concentrate on doing business together – for example, how much will you pay me to sell you this cow I've just acquired?" he asserted.

This stance seems to reflect a larger trend in Washington's attitude to the world. After all, the US prefers an aggressive foreign policy of "my way or the highway," and promoting cooperation with a major power may not really be its thing.

If so, the upcoming summit will not bring actual positive results. David M. Lampton of Johns Hopkins University echoed the sentiment. He characterized the bilateral relations as undergoing a "strategic slide."

"Unless the two presidents focus on this underlying problem, the upcoming summit may come to be viewed in history as having simply been a brief respite in the unhappy journey to more friction and perhaps intense conflict," Lampton noted in an article for The Diplomat.

Meanwhile, the US is likely to resort to "unfounded accusations or megaphone diplomacy," in the words of Cui Tiankai.

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