This photo taken on March 29, 2023 shows the White House in Washington, D.C., the United States. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)
The claim of "China's economic coercion" has revealed a self-serving Washington's murky incentives to distract the international community from the real coercer, whitewash its lucrative anti-China schemes, and tie its allies to its own chariot.
by Xinhua writer Gao Wencheng
BEIJING, May 27 (Xinhua) -- Days before the Group of Seven (G7) Hiroshima summit, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said China's use of so-called "economic coercion" should constitute "concern to all of us."
Yellen's words have revealed a self-serving Washington's murky incentives to distract the international community from the real coercer, whitewash its lucrative anti-China schemes, and tie its allies to its own chariot.
First of all, the so-called "China's economic coercion" hype is a design Washington made to paper over its own coercive diplomacy.
The top coercer is clearly the United States: As of 2021, Washington has enforced more than 9,400 sanctions and imposed unilateral economic embargoes on nearly 40 countries, affecting nearly half of the world's population.
Even Washington's allies aren't immune to its coercive diplomacy. To eliminate Japan's economic threat, Washington compelled the country to sign the "Plaza Accord" in 1985, forcing the yen to appreciate, which led to the rapid expansion of the East Asian state's domestic economic bubble, the collapse of the real estate bubble and the long-term stagnation of the Japanese economy.
Later, Washington dismembered Alstom, a French power and transport group, with American legal action in 2010-15, in a scenario featuring the arrest of Alstom executives by the U.S. Department of Justice in dirty tricks against the French manufacturer. Under pressure, Alstom had to accept an acquisition bid from American conglomerate General Electric in 2015.
File photo shows journalists reporting at the headquarters of Alstom in Levallois-Perret, outside Paris, France, on April 27, 2014. (Xinhua/Li Genxing)
Washington has also repeatedly wielded tariffs against its European partners and interfered in market competition. Not to mention its ripping into the semiconductor industry, where it "extorts" confidential data from various chip companies to maintain dominance in the sector.
Just as U.S. think tank the Center for a New American Security pointed out in a report, "Coercive economic measures have been a longstanding tool of American foreign policy, dating back to the early 19th century. But since the end of the Cold War, coercive economic measures have become an ever more important instrument of U.S. foreign policy."
Second, Washington attempted to use the hype to justify its unreasonable suppression of China while camouflaging itself as a "big brother" who stands up to those countries that have walked right into its "you-fight-the-tussle-and-I-win" trap.
"It's been over three decades since the United States engaged in great power peer competition, and some may have forgotten that high-stakes competition against another great power is not pretty and sometimes dirty," Victor Cha of the Center for Strategic and International Studies said when boasting about the so-called "strategy to deter China's economic coercion" in his congressional testimony.
While the word "dirty" is fairly accurate to describe U.S. political tricks against China's legitimate and reasonable development, the hypocrisy in Cha's words reflects how Washington is struggling to find excuses for its actions that undermine economic and trade freedom.
Meanwhile, let's not forget that as Australia, which is enchanted by Washington and repeatedly challenged China's bottom line, was experiencing decreasing exports of coal, wine, cotton and other products to China, U.S. exports to the country in Oceania increased correspondingly.
That's probably why the South China Morning Post commented in the article "U.S. Exports to China Grow at 'Expense' of Australia after Beijing's Trade Ban" that the United States will prioritize its own economic needs over those of its allies, including Australia, despite its close ties with them.
Third, with the "China's economic coercion" hype, Washington wants to take its allies hostage to the political and economic costs of its own "great power peer competition" game.
A report by the RAND Corporation has brought Washington's calculation to light: Restricting imports from China or raising tariffs makes products from China more expensive, and an outright ban on Chinese imports forces consumers to purchase other, more expensive or lower quality goods. Such costs would be passed on to consumers in the United States. However, a so-called "multilateral response" will help Washington split the costs with its "coalition" partners.
The truth is, there are a bunch of facts that Washington cannot twist: China is an indispensable partner to many countries around the world. It has a vast and promising market. And all sober minds have deemed China attractive because of its longstanding commitment to opening-up and win-win cooperation.
This aerial photo taken on May 9, 2023 shows the container terminal at Lianyungang Port, east China's Jiangsu Province. (Photo by Geng Yuhe/Xinhua)
Clearly, Washington's imaginary "China's economic coercion" is a non-starter. The right thing for the United States to do, instead, is take a cold, hard look at itself and reflect on its deeds.■