China should give up the “illusion” of avoiding competition with the United States, and even be prepared for the worst-case scenario
of possible military conflict, a Chinese think tank has advised, while also urging Beijing to seek ways to reduce tensions.
The Chongyang Institute for Finance Studies at Renmin University said the war in Ukraine had intensified US worries about and strategy against China, heightening the risk of an “all out” confrontation between the two major powers.
“To respond to US President Joe Biden’s all-out competitive offensive, China should give up its illusions, and make every effort to guard against the possibility of a final showdown of high-intensity military confrontation
,” the institute said in a report released on Sunday.
However, while adapting to the spike in bilateral tensions, China should also take the initiative to shape ties with the US and seek “the possibility of cooperation between the two nations”, the report urged.
It noted that the US had stepped up its strategy to “contain China” following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February, moving to strengthen ties with regional allies and selling arms to Taiwan, which Beijing regards as a breakaway province that can be taken by force.
“The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has exacerbated the strategic anxiety of the United States towards China. The United States has begun to accelerate the build-up of comprehensive strategic competition with China,” it pointed out.
The report was released as the Biden administration outlined its Indo-Pacific strategy, including the launch of an Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) covering supply chains, digital trade, clean energy and anti-corruption efforts. The initiative, launched by Biden in Japan last month with 12 Asian member states
, is viewed with much suspicion by Beijing.
His first trip to East Asia as US president also saw Biden boost the Quad alliance with Australia, India and Japan – with an in-person summit
with their leaders in Tokyo that ended with a pledge to oppose attempts to “change the status quo by force” in the Indo-Pacific.
A joint statement released after the May 24 meeting did not explicitly name China, but referred to the militarisation of “disputed features” and the use of coastguard vessels to disrupt offshore resource exploitation by other countries – a concern shared by nations involved in maritime disputes with Beijing.
In a major policy speech days later, Biden’s top diplomat – Secretary of State Antony Blinken – called China
the “most serious long-term” threat to the international order and said the US would “shape the strategic environment around Beijing” to advance its own vision.
Other US initiatives to counter China since the invasion of Ukraine have included pressuring Beijing to cut off trade links with Moscow, continuing weapons sales to Taiwan while boosting exchanges with the self-ruled island, and restricting US operations for Chinese telecoms
companies, according to the report.
There are risks of a full-scale US-China military conflict involving cyberspace, and in areas such as the disputed South China Sea
and Taiwan, even though that is the worst-case scenario, the institute said.
The risk of decoupling was also heightened, it warned, with the US and its allies possibly stopping technology supplies to China and reducing reliance on Chinese products.
“The Biden administration believes that competition is still the main axis
of China-US relations, and the tough US stance towards China will not fundamentally change in a short period of time,” it noted.
It said China should improve economic ties with regional partners to offset the US influence, and speed up the development of its own Cross-Border Interbank Payment System
to reduce any impact of being cut off from Swift, something that has dealt a heavy blow to the Russian economy.