Expert calls for U.S.-China engagement, not “Cold War-like” confrontation

SAN FRANCISCO, May 22 — The United States and China should solve their problems through engagement rather than confrontation, said a U.S. expert.

Progress has been made in the U.S.-China relationship through engagement at all levels, but this is sometimes “missing or misunderstood in the conversation on U.S.-China relations,” said Andy Rothman, an investment strategist at San Francisco-based investment firm Matthews Asia.

“That reflects the way to solve the remaining problems through engagement, rather than starting a Cold War-like confrontational relationship,” he told a panel discussion at a seminar held in downtown San Francisco on Monday.

The event, titled “Untangling the U.S.-China Narrative: Technology, Trade, and Tensions,” touched upon a wide range of issues concerning the U.S.-China relationship. It was co-organized by Asia Society Northern California and the Committee of 100, a non-profit U.S. organization of prominent Chinese Americans.

Rothman said his experience of traveling around the United States and speaking to various groups told him that the “anti-China sentiment that we see in Washington doesn’t seem to be present in most of the rest of the country.”

Trying to prevent China from rising economically, strategically and politically and from sharing the world stage with the United States is “something that seems to me to be really difficult to accomplish and probably counterproductive for us,” he said.

Rothman, who has lived and worked in China for more than 20 years, also reminded the panel of China’s development over the years.
“If they made no changes at all, how is it that GM is selling almost 4 million cars a year in China, more than they sell in the United States?” asked Rothman.

“Last year, Cadillac sales were up 30 percent — the first time ever Cadillac sold more cars in China than in the United States,” he added.
Rothman also warned of possible risks of “racism” and “xenophobia” which may drive the United States into “the dark parts of our society.”

The “dark parts” include those that were responsible for the Chinese Exclusion Act in the late 1800s and the executive order in 1942 which resulted in the incarceration of Italian Americans, German Americans and Japanese Americans, he explained.

“I think we need to push back hard on people who are either deliberately or accidentally talking about the problem of U.S.-China relationship in a way that’s tinged with racism and xenophobia,” said Rothman. – XINHUA