(East-West Question) Carl Laustadia: How can China and the United States regain their original intention of melting ice on the 50th anniversary of Nixon's visit to China?

  China News Agency, Beijing, February 21, Question: Carl Laustadia: How can China and the United States regain the original intention of melting ice on the 50th anniversary of Nixon's visit to China?

  Author Gao Chuyi

  From February 21 to 28, 1972, the then US President Nixon paid a seven-day visit to China, which was called "a week that changed the world" by international public opinion and became an "ice-breaking trip" in the history of Sino-US diplomacy.

At the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics 50 years later, the design of the "five rings of ice and snow" broke through the ice, which also conveyed to the world the Chinese people's approach to life that is close and warm.

  Kal Raustiala, director of the Berkel Center for International Relations at the University of California, Los Angeles, recently accepted an exclusive interview with China News Agency "East-West Question", expounding on the 50th anniversary of President Nixon's visit to China, what should China and the United States do? Thinking about the future and regaining the original intention of melting ice.

Carl Laustadia said that in the face of the current China-US relations, it is crucial to actively seek for the two sides to meet each other and better manage existing problems.

The following is a summary of the interview:

China News Agency reporter: You once said at the 40th anniversary of Nixon's visit to China at UCLA that this visit "seized the opportunity, seized the time, and changed history". In your opinion, Nixon's visit to China was at that time. What kind of special historical significance does it have?

Carl Laustadia:

Now we can see that China and the United States are the two most important countries in the international system.

President Richard Nixon's trip to China 50 years ago marked a strategic re-engagement between the two great powers.

The reason why this contact is of great significance is mainly because, due to ideological factors, both China and the United States have been in a "frozen" period for the previous 22 years, and Nixon was able to see that China's return to the world's political center was inevitable, and Putting the re-engagement of the two countries on the same level as the strategic interests of the United States, it makes more sense to manage the relationship between the two countries than to reject China.

In 2017, the exhibition commemorating the 45th anniversary of President Nixon's visit to China and the publication of the "Shanghai Communiqué" was held at the Nixon Library in Los Angeles.

Photo by China News Agency Lu Wei

China News Service: Over the past 50 years, China-US economic and trade relations have developed rapidly, and people-to-people and cultural exchanges have continued to increase.

How do you think Sino-US relations have changed over the past 50 years?

Carl Laustadia:

Fifty years ago, Sino-US relations were mainly about geopolitical security issues, and the joint establishment of the Soviet Union.

Today, the biggest change between China and the United States has occurred in the economic field. The relationship between the two countries is much more complicated, with competition and confrontation, as well as cooperation and interdependence.

There are thousands of Americans living in China today, and millions of Chinese living in the United States.

There are all kinds of ties between Chinese and American societies, not just between the two governments.

China News Service reporter: Looking back at the history of today's China-US relations, how do you think we should understand the dynamic relationship between China and the US that is closely linked to each other?

Carl Laustadia:

A peaceful world order requires close cooperation between China and the United States.

There are of course many differences between the two countries, but issues such as the global economy and climate change can only be effectively resolved through joint actions between China and the United States.

A key part of the history of engagement between the two sides was that the United States welcomed a rising China into the global order, a process that began with Nixon's landmark visit.

This has continued in subsequent administrations, even as the United States sometimes worries about China's potential power and influence, and vice versa.

From March 18 to 19, 2021, the China-US High-level Strategic Dialogue was held in Anchorage, the southern port of Alaska.

This is the first face-to-face dialogue and communication between high-level diplomatic officials from China and the United States since the Biden administration took office.

Photo by China News Agency reporter Liu Guanguan

China News Service: In your new book, Global Governance in a Changing World, published last year, you discussed concerns about the lack of integration in global governance.

How to understand the role and role played by China and the United States in participating in global governance?

Carl Laustadia:

The existing global order is a striking reflection of US thinking since the post-World War II period - although China has always been part of the UN, the basic design of the UN has its roots in the US, and China tends to be more on the Security Council" Silent".

Today, China is becoming more active and influential in the global order that has long been dominated by the West.

China has benefited from this change in order, which has brought peace and prosperity to much of the world.

The key to the future is for China to have a more active voice and play a more important role in the global order while maintaining this order.

A world of hostility and fear is not in anyone's interest, especially the most powerful nations.

In September 2006, the Chinese naval taskforce visited the ports of Hawaii and San Diego in the United States and conducted joint China-US maritime search and rescue exercises.

Photo by China News Agency reporter Jia Guorong

China News Service: Some scholars say that the key to "mutual benefit and win-win" is whether China and the US can manage the important and complex relationship well.

In your opinion, how should the two countries get out of the current predicament and regain the heart of melting ice?

Carl Laustadia:

That's a tough question to answer.

There are tensions between the US and China in some major areas, ranging from (macro) issues like values, rights, to specific disagreements like the South China Sea.

Importantly, both sides believe it is crucial to take legitimate action and ensure that these areas of tension are actively addressed not through threats, but through diplomacy.

In the event of a conflict, both sides and the whole world will lose too much.

Even during the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union found ways to cooperate and ease tensions.

Although Sino-US relations are completely different from this, actively looking for a point of convergence between the two sides and better management of existing problems is still the way out.


Interviewee Profile:

Photo courtesy of Karl Lausdia, director of the Berkel Center for International Relations at the University of California, Los Angeles

  Kal Raustiala is a professor at the UCLA School of International Studies, a professor of comparative and international law at the Promise Institute of the Law School, and director of the Berkel Center for International Relations.

From 2012-2015, he served as UCLA's Vice Provost for International Studies and Director of the Office of International Education.

He was a Fellow of the Brookings Institution's Foreign Policy Research Program and a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

In 2016, he was elected as the Vice President of the American Society of International Law.