Michael Pillsbury, one of US President Donald Trump’s advisers, said Thursday at the Washington DC-based think tank the Atlantic Council that “the competition to forever stop China from taking the position as No.1 in the world is primary for Trump,” according to the Voice Of America (VOA) Chinese site.
China never seeks to be a leader of the world, but it will also never be a vassal of the US or it will never desist from developing just because it actually leads in some fields. Preventing China from gaining leadership in the world is a wishful surmise of the US within its own set of topics, which suggests that China will do whatever the US asks and hopes it to. This is definitely impossible.
Currently in some fields China has made advanced achievements and even leads the world. China is narrowing the gap with the US in some fields and increasing its influence. China’s development experience is also welcomed by many developing countries. This is the result of China’s rapid development in the past few decades, rather than that acquired through colonial expansion like Western countries.
China’s investment in research and development (R&D) is very telling evidence. Between 2003 and 2013, China led the world on annual R&D spending growth with an average of 19.5 percent. In 2018, China spent a record $370.6 billion on R&D – in purchasing power parity – second in the world after only the US, and so narrowed the gap.
As a matter of fact, it is not China or some other countries that want to compete with the US for the position of No.1 in the world. It is the US that is always worried that its leading position is not solid enough. However, Washington refuses to attribute the cause to its own flaws but rather to the development of other countries, which Trump says are “taking advantage of America.”
Such being the idea, it is understandable that the US launched a trade war against China, scrapped trade privileges under the Generalized System of Preferences for India and initiated a Section 301 investigation into the French government’s digital services tax. These reckless and wayward actions have damaged the reputation of the US internationally, shaken its status, and affected its influence in the world.
After Trump took office and upheld his America First policy, the US seemed to have abandoned the rational and fair way of development but instead childishly dealt with tariffs and used sanctions as a conventional weapon. The Trump administration aims to make America great again but it forces other countries to sacrifice their own interests for the greatness of the US. Washington should consider changing its gestures of being the world leader.
The international system was built by the US after World War II. It has fulfilled the savior complex that the US once had and still has. As globalization develops, the world structure is changing, which demands reform of the existing international system to adapt itself to the characteristics of the new era. The world system should not be a tool for anyone to profit but a framework and safeguard for the shared development of mankind.
This, rather than the so-called ambition of overtaking the US, is the reason China strives for reforms in the international system and order. Such a misunderstanding of China stems from a wrong contention, which will thus lead to biased arguments and conclusions.