On December 1, 2020, Guancha, a news site affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), published the transcript of a speech by the top CCP academic on American studies, Professor Shi Yinhong, at the National Institute of Development and Strategy of Renmin University of China.
In his speech, Shi argued that the China-U.S. stability of the past is gone, and that without new stability, there will be war, saying: “So there must be new strategic stability which will be achieved by being practical, sufficiently focused, and through specific and important proposals, dialogues or negotiations.” He added that China cannot have confrontation with other developed countries besides the U.S. and Britain: “The purpose is to focus strategically and reduce first- and second-tier opponents.”
What follows are excerpts of Shi Yinhong’s speech:
“[…] I think the trend of China-U.S. relations after the US election can be influenced or shaped by China to a large extent. Therefore, China’s strategies and policies, as well as appropriate adjustments to these strategic policies, are very important. The current situation of China and the U.S. determines that it is impossible for the two sides to significantly back down from their confrontation or rivalry…
“In a broader sense, China must fundamentally follow these two principles:
“First, to implement strategic/military adjustment and revision with resolution, commitment and persistence, and use it as a basic condition for negotiation to reduce the risk of collisions on strategic frontiers between China and the U.S., while promoting new strategic stability. The stability of the past three years between the two countries is gone, and without new stability, there will be war. So there must be new strategic stability which will be achieved by being practical, sufficiently focused, and through specific and important proposals, dialogues or negotiations.
“Second, for a certain period of time, although there can be and must be exceptions, but in general, China cannot have confrontation with other developed countries besides the United States and Britain, as well as any major developing countries. The purpose is to focus strategically and reduce first- and second-tier opponents…
“Over the past year, the strategic frontiers of China and the U.S. are inching closer, especially when the two countries were set in motion of confrontation and opposition against each other. It cannot be taken for granted and fantasized that conflict will never erupt between the two. [If we] do not deal with problems, or properly solve problems, at least part of the problems of stability, who can say that China and the U.S. will not be on a clashing path? So it is necessary to encourage the two countries to reduce the threat of the collision of their strategic frontiers, and promote new strategic stability between them.
“The old strategic stability of China and the U.S.… is in the past and gone forever. Without strategic stability, there will be wars, even major wars. Therefore, we must strive to solve new strategic problems through practical thinking, sufficient focus and dialogues or negotiations on important proposals. At the same time, this will also serve to isolate the views towards China of the U.S. political class and to win over other important countries in the world with their more understanding and sympathy for China.
“Second, [we] need to have perseverance and patience. In the current extremely important strategic period of time, [we need to] reduce first- and second-tier opponents, and there can only be one first-tier opponent, not to mention it’s the most powerful in the world and the most inclined to exercise its hegemonic power, the United States. The fewer second-tier strategic opponents, the better, and there should never be more than a few.
“In short, going back to the title of this talk, the trend of China-U.S. relations can be influenced and shaped by China to a large extent, and it will be very important for China to make appropriate adjustments in its strategic policies.”