by Liu Chang
BEIJING, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) -- Willing or not, Democratic or Republican, the next U.S. president shall have to tone down his get-tough-on-China rhetoric made along the campaign trail, and deal with his country's sclerotic inaptness toward China's inevitable rise.
Both U.S. presidential candidates vowed at their third and last debate encounter closed on Monday night that they would press Beijing to "play by the rules" in shaping their bilateral ties.
However, their definition of "rules of the road" is primarily pro-American.
For the records, China has always been complying with the rules of international institutions, including the World Trade Organization. But it is not duty-bound to abide by the regulations designed by a certain country.
China is also willing to work closely with its U.S. partners in figuring out solutions that could best serve their mutual interests via candid talks.
In fact, the growing cases of trade disputes between the two economies seem to show that the United States is not prepared to work with China as equals.
Over the years, China's rapid economic surge seems to have left the world's only super power stranded in a dilemma. For one thing, the United States desires to harvest profitable business benefits by cashing in on China's economic expansion.
However, on the other hand, Washington fears that a rising China could squeeze its traditional spheres of influence, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, and ultimately cripple America's alleged "global dominance."
Such psychology has led to the U.S. decision-makers' failure to understand China's emergence in an objective and rational manner.
Accordingly, the U.S. government has, from time to time, chosen to install speed-control humps to rein in China's advancement by playing up trade disputes, meddling with maritime rows involving China and its neighbors, driving away Chinese investors on unwarranted grounds, and blaming Beijing's policies on U.S. ailments.
Additionally, a contagion of China-phobia syndrome has also been spreading among the U.S. population.
A poll conducted by the Washington Post and ABC News earlier this year revealed that 52 percent of the respondents had a negative view of China.
Aspiring for political gains, some U.S. politicians have, instead of educating the public about the significance of maintaining a strong and vibrant China-U.S. relationship, spared no efforts to manipulate this ill-grounded antagonism toward China.
Their practices have further plagued the relationship between the two countries, and shrunk the two sides' mutual trust.
Nevertheless, the U.S. government needs to be well aware that the days when a clear-cut demarcation separating the interests of different countries could be drawn have long gone, and both sides have already become highly entangled with each other, and their economic interdependence is now on a historic scale.
According to China's Ministry of Commerce, the China-U.S. trade surged to a record high of 446.7 billion U.S. dollars by the end of last year, and the two economies are now each other's second largest trading partner.
China is now seeking to radically restructure its economic growth model and turn to a greener economy, which undoubtedly would present the U.S. enterprises with even more business opportunities.
Apart from that, the two countries are also important partners in solving many of the world's most pressing challenges, including global economic crisis, climate change, and nuclear-nonproliferation, which can not be handled by any single country.
Of course, the two countries do have their fair share of differences in such areas as currency policy, the situation in the Middle East, and human rights. But neither side should allow these disagreements to overshadow a healthy development of bilateral ties.
Yet if Washington continues to view China's rise as being more of a threat than an opportunity, it is possible for their differences to spiral out of control at one point, leaving neither side unscathed in a breakdown of their relationship.
To prevent such a catastrophic scenario, the United States should learn how to co-exist peacefully and responsibly with China, which includes paying due respect for China's legitimate demands for growth, and its core interests.
The two countries can also work together to prove that they are capable of avoiding confrontations and achieving win-win results.