The US ‘Can’t Do Much’ to Prevent China From Becoming World’s Economic Leader

View of the Central Business District at sunset in Beijing

The US ‘Can’t Do Much’ to Prevent China From Becoming World’s Economic Leader

© AFP 2017/ MARK RALSTON

Commenting on the recent statement of White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon that the US is at ‘economic war’ with China, Hong Kong-based political scientist Joseph Cheng explained to Sputnik that the US, in fact, can’t do much to prevent Beijing from growing into the world’s economic leader and why the two countries should avoid a trade war.

The US is locked in a “covert economic war” with China. That is what White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon has recently said in his phone conversation with the American Prospect magazine. The official said the next few decades would decide who would be a “hegemon,” fearing that it could be Beijing, not Washington.

Sputnik Radio spoke with Joseph Cheng, Professor of Political Science at the City University of Hong Kong, who said that though Steve Bannon’s statement is “very much an exaggeration,” certainly the US feels that China is going to be, in the long term, or even may be in the medium term, a threat to its dominance in the international community.

“There is not much that the US can do to prevent China from becoming the world’s economic leader because China is a developing economy. There seems to be a very definite trend that the size of its economy and the level of sophistication of the economy have been improving,” he told Sputnik.

However, the majority of economic experts believe that, for at the least the next coming one or two decades, the US will be able to maintain its lead in the international community, he said.

“Although this lead is fast narrowing. Its relative weight in the international economy will probably be in a gradual but steady decline, meaning that other countries will become economically stronger and their share of the international GDP will probably be on the rise,” he warned, citing BRICS as a good example of the above statement.

Chinese experts, officials and think tanks also understand that their country is in no position to surpass the US in the coming ten or twenty years, he said. But, talking about the longer-term period, China certainly believes that it is going to be the larger economy than the US. However in terms of technology, in terms of per capita GDP in China it has a long way to catch up with the US.The political scientist also noted that an economic war is going to be very costly to both the US and China, and to the entire world. The US and China are very much intertwined, interconnected in various international production chains.

It is obvious that the US business community has been the staunchest advocate for good relations between the US and China. The American business community has been the major beneficiary of the expanding trade and investment activities between the two countries, Joseph Cheng concluded.

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