US Should Adopt Policy of Reciprocity Towards China: Former US Assistant Secretary of State

The United States should apply a reciprocal strategy in relation to China, according to former Assistant U.S. Secretary of State David Stilwell.“The idea was that until you begin to live up to your commitments to cooperate, we are going to treat you the exact same way you treat us. So reciprocity was the means, not the end,” Stilwell recently told Epoch TV’s “American Thought Leaders” program. “Any relationship has to have benefits for both sides, or it’s not going to last,” he added. He further elaborated on how the Chinese regime had managed to play a one-sided game to gain an advantage in its relationship with the United States in several areas. Media Stilwell pointed to the fact that in 2020, China sent over 100 journalists to America but only granted visas for 30 American journalists to do their work over there. “So the only people that were allowed to stay there reporting were the ones that PRC determined were more friendly to the regime,” Stilwell said, referring to the acronym for the Chinese regime’s official name, the People’s Republic of China. And for those sent to America, he said, “They work for the government, so they’re not really out there to discern truth and whatnot.” He also noted that these Chinese journalists seek to spread their propaganda to the American people. “In the PRC system … it’s just as valid to have a journalist here who is taking PRC language and broadcasting it to Americans, convincing Americans of how things should be, telling us how bad the administration is, botching the [U.S.-China] relationship,” Stilwell said. The former diplomat highlighted the incident where the Chinese Ambassador to the United States was able to place an op-ed in the New York Times, but the Chinese media refused to publish a piece written by his counterpart in Beijing. “We had Ambassador [Terry] Branstad write an op-ed, a very benign op-ed … right after the then-Ambassador Cui Tian Kai here in the United States had done this really inflammatory presentation in the American media space,” he said. “So we drafted an op-ed for Ambassador Branstad to place in People’s Daily. And knowing full well they wouldn’t,” he added, referring to the Chinese Communist Party’s official mouthpiece. “Not only did they reject but they actually gave us a rejection letter that we then published.” U.S. President Joe Biden gestures as he meets with Chinese leader Xi Jinping during a virtual summit from the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, on Nov. 15, 2021. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images) Climate The same holds true with respect to cooperation in climate change, Stilwell said. Regarding the Paris Accord, Stilwell pointed out, “The regime signed up to continue to increase pollution as their economy grows. The amount of carbon output is going to increase until 2030, they say, at which point [it] begin[s] to taper and then achieve carbon neutrality in 2060.” “We assume that they shut down all their coal plants and that they’re all gone solar and all that stuff … That is not true. This is an information warfare tactic,” Stilwell said. Meanwhile, the restrictions that Washington signed up for in the Paris Accord were “far more economically damaging than any country.” And due to the information warfare tactic that the regime is leveraging, he said, “even our allies and friends are pointing to us saying, ‘You guys backed out of Paris [agreement]. You’re not serious about climate.’” Economic Cooperation In terms of economic cooperation, Stilwell said that there are about 200 companies from China listed on the New York Stock Exchange that are not complying with U.S. audit requirements. The Chinese regime does not permit U.S. regulators to inspect audit books of China- or Hong Kong-based accounting firms, citing state secrecy. Meanwhile, he said, “There is no American company that doesn’t have to meet those audit requirements.” “Had they done an audit they would’ve seen that this thing should not be on the New York Stock Exchange. It doesn’t belong there. It’s not a real legitimate audit, but we allowed that,” Stilwell said. The former diplomat referred to the Biden administration’s hint that he might cut tariffs on Chinese imports to ease inflation, which was imposed by former President Donald Trump in 2018 to combat a slew of unfair trade practices by the Chinese regime. “The tariffs are there because the regime did not live up to its end of the bargain to buy this much American agriculture, to buy this much American products, to create access for other American things that they get access to here in the U.S. It’s not mutually beneficial,” he said. To combat the information warfare, trade warfare, and political warfare deployed by the regime, in Stilwell’s opinion, the United States should revisit its approach toward Beijing. “We want this to be a cooperative relationship like we have with other countries. We’ve tried for 40 years to get it to that point. But after 40 years, you have

US Should Adopt Policy of Reciprocity Towards China: Former US Assistant Secretary of State

The United States should apply a reciprocal strategy in relation to China, according to former Assistant U.S. Secretary of State David Stilwell.

“The idea was that until you begin to live up to your commitments to cooperate, we are going to treat you the exact same way you treat us. So reciprocity was the means, not the end,” Stilwell recently told Epoch TV’s “American Thought Leaders” program.

“Any relationship has to have benefits for both sides, or it’s not going to last,” he added.

He further elaborated on how the Chinese regime had managed to play a one-sided game to gain an advantage in its relationship with the United States in several areas.

Media

Stilwell pointed to the fact that in 2020, China sent over 100 journalists to America but only granted visas for 30 American journalists to do their work over there.

“So the only people that were allowed to stay there reporting were the ones that PRC determined were more friendly to the regime,” Stilwell said, referring to the acronym for the Chinese regime’s official name, the People’s Republic of China.

And for those sent to America, he said, “They work for the government, so they’re not really out there to discern truth and whatnot.”

He also noted that these Chinese journalists seek to spread their propaganda to the American people.

“In the PRC system … it’s just as valid to have a journalist here who is taking PRC language and broadcasting it to Americans, convincing Americans of how things should be, telling us how bad the administration is, botching the [U.S.-China] relationship,” Stilwell said.

The former diplomat highlighted the incident where the Chinese Ambassador to the United States was able to place an op-ed in the New York Times, but the Chinese media refused to publish a piece written by his counterpart in Beijing.

“We had Ambassador [Terry] Branstad write an op-ed, a very benign op-ed … right after the then-Ambassador Cui Tian Kai here in the United States had done this really inflammatory presentation in the American media space,” he said.

“So we drafted an op-ed for Ambassador Branstad to place in People’s Daily. And knowing full well they wouldn’t,” he added, referring to the Chinese Communist Party’s official mouthpiece.

“Not only did they reject but they actually gave us a rejection letter that we then published.”

US-CHINA-DIPLOMACY U.S. President Joe Biden gestures as he meets with Chinese leader Xi Jinping during a virtual summit from the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, on Nov. 15, 2021. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

Climate

The same holds true with respect to cooperation in climate change, Stilwell said.

Regarding the Paris Accord, Stilwell pointed out, “The regime signed up to continue to increase pollution as their economy grows. The amount of carbon output is going to increase until 2030, they say, at which point [it] begin[s] to taper and then achieve carbon neutrality in 2060.”

“We assume that they shut down all their coal plants and that they’re all gone solar and all that stuff … That is not true. This is an information warfare tactic,” Stilwell said.

Meanwhile, the restrictions that Washington signed up for in the Paris Accord were “far more economically damaging than any country.”

And due to the information warfare tactic that the regime is leveraging, he said, “even our allies and friends are pointing to us saying, ‘You guys backed out of Paris [agreement]. You’re not serious about climate.’”

Economic Cooperation

In terms of economic cooperation, Stilwell said that there are about 200 companies from China listed on the New York Stock Exchange that are not complying with U.S. audit requirements. The Chinese regime does not permit U.S. regulators to inspect audit books of China- or Hong Kong-based accounting firms, citing state secrecy.

Meanwhile, he said, “There is no American company that doesn’t have to meet those audit requirements.”

“Had they done an audit they would’ve seen that this thing should not be on the New York Stock Exchange. It doesn’t belong there. It’s not a real legitimate audit, but we allowed that,” Stilwell said.

The former diplomat referred to the Biden administration’s hint that he might cut tariffs on Chinese imports to ease inflation, which was imposed by former President Donald Trump in 2018 to combat a slew of unfair trade practices by the Chinese regime.

“The tariffs are there because the regime did not live up to its end of the bargain to buy this much American agriculture, to buy this much American products, to create access for other American things that they get access to here in the U.S. It’s not mutually beneficial,” he said.

To combat the information warfare, trade warfare, and political warfare deployed by the regime, in Stilwell’s opinion, the United States should revisit its approach toward Beijing.

“We want this to be a cooperative relationship like we have with other countries. We’ve tried for 40 years to get it to that point. But after 40 years, you have to assume that this plan isn’t working and we’re going to have to change direction,” he said.

Hannah Ng

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Hannah Ng is a reporter covering U.S. and China news. She holds a master's degree in international and development economics from the University of Applied Science Berlin.


Senior Editor

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Jan Jekielek is a senior editor with The Epoch Times and host of the show, "American Thought Leaders." Jan’s career has spanned academia, media, and international human rights work. In 2009 he joined The Epoch Times full time and has served in a variety of roles, including as website chief editor. He is the producer of the award-winning Holocaust documentary film "Finding Manny."