Having not learned the lessons of the past, the US continues to repeat its same old mistakes.
LUO JIE / CHINA DAILY
原文载丨China Daily， 2019-06-12
By Hu Angang | China Daily | Wednesday, June 12, 2019 | 13
The author is dean of the Institute for Contemporary China Studies and professor of School of Public Policy and Management at Tsinghua University.
With China on course to realize its goal of building a moderately prosperous society in an all-around way by 2020, China has entered a period of strategic opportunity with promising prospects.
According to the World Bank International Comparison Program database, China's GDP(PPP, constant 2011 international dollar) as a percentage of the world's total increased from 7.34 percent in 2000 to 18.17 percent in 2017, while the GDP of the United States dropped from 20.40 percent to 15.17 percent. The 5.23 percent decrease in the proportion of the US economy relative to the rest of the world is directly related to the wars the US has engaged in - in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria - as well as the outbreak and spread of the 2008 financial crisis that originated in the US. The US expenditure on war alone is as high as $7 trillion, a figure that does not take into account the huge hidden costs and opportunity costs that the country paid.
It is therefore clear that, while China has embarked on a road to peace and development, the US has taken the wrong path of war and hegemony. Different approaches will have different results. In this regard, the US does not practice self-reflection nor possess self-knowledge. Instead, it has launched a trade war, technology war, economic war and educational war with China, regardless of the fact that China is its largest trading partner, the largest patent application country, and the largest foreign holder of US treasury securities and its largest source country of foreign students.
Lacking the abilities to reflect and correct, the US persists on carrying on along this path, and having not learned its lessons continues to repeat its old mistakes. As a result, the US is the biggest disrupter of trade liberalization and trade rules, and the world's largest obstacle to high-tech innovation cooperation and the popularization of 5G technology applications. Consequently, it has become an "Aunt Sally", subject to criticism not only from China and the rest of the world, but even domestic denunciation.
The US trade war against China has shocked the world. Its motive is plain: The US policymakers have launched this trade war in an attempt to contain China's rise. The US no longer tries to hide the fact that it wants to curb the growth of China's economic strength and international influence at all costs.
This raises the question: Can the US contain the growth of China's economic strength?
According to the World Bank's World Development Indicators database, China's GDP(PPP, constant 2011 international dollar) exceeded that of the United States as early as 2013, and was equivalent to 1.20 times that of the United States in 2017. According to data provided by the CIA World Factbook, in 2017 the GDP of the US was 19.49 trillion international dollars, while that of China was 23.21 trillion international dollars, equivalent to 1.19 times that of the US. This demonstrates that China's economic strength has already surpassed that of the United States, and the relative gap between the two will continue to expand.
In the future, China's economy will maintain a medium-to-high-speed growth for a long time. According to a research forecast by the Institute for Contemporary China Studies of Tsinghua University, China's GDP growth rate will remain at about 6 percent, higher than the average annual growth rate of the world (about 3 percent), let alone that of the United States (around 2.2 percent). By 2020, China's GDP(PPP, constant 2011 international dollar) will reach 26 trillion international dollars, accounting for 20.3 percent of the world's total. By 2025, it is expected that this proportion will have risen to 23.3 percent.
Meanwhile, China's R&D expenditure will increase from 452 billion international dollars in 2017 to nearly 583.2 billion international dollars in 2020, 1.1 times higher than that in the United States; and by 2025 this figure is expected to have surged to 866 billion international dollars, equivalent to about 1.5 times that of the US. So even if the US continues to wage a trade war, technology war and economic war against China, it will be impossible to reverse this trend. On the contrary, such actions on the part of the US will greatly enhance China's social cohesion, promote China's continued reform and opening-up, and provide further impetus for its innovation-driven development. Once China becomes an innovative country in 2020, it will stand at the forefront of the world's innovative countries.
The experience of history is instructive here. Seventy years ago, the newly established People's Republic of China was forced to participate in the Korean War against the US. Despite the great expense incurred as a result of the war, over the period 1953-57 China successfully implemented its first five-year plan, achieving an economic growth rate of 9.2 percent. According to the world economic history data provided by Angus Maddison, the proportion of China's GDP(1990 international dollars) in the world total increased from 4.5 percent in 1950 to 5.5 percent in 1957. During this period, the proportion of US GDP in the world total declined from 27.3 percent to 25.3 percent. Whereas in 1950 US GDP was 6.1 times that of China, by 1957 it had decreased to 4.6 times.
China and the US are the world's two largest economies, traders and technological innovators. Cooperation between the two not only benefits both, it also benefits the world. Conflict, on the other hand, would not only hurt both, it would also have disastrous consequences throughout the world. The risk of such an outcome is high, and should be borne in mind by the US, especially as one of the more likely results will be the accelerated rise of China. History is the best witness and the future is the best proof.