Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday told a delegation of influential American senators that the “Thucydides Trap” is “not inevitable” as he played down the concerns in Washington that China is out to challenge the superpower status of the US.
Thucydides Trap is a term to describe an emerging power threatening to displace the existing great power.
“Competition and confrontation are not consistent with the trend of the times. Still less can it fix one’s own problems and address the challenges facing the world,” Xi told a US Senate delegation headed by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer during a meeting.
“China maintains that the common interests of the two countries far outweigh their differences, and the respective success of China and the US is an opportunity, rather than a challenge, to each other,” Xi told the six-member delegation of top American legislators.
”The Thucydides Trap is not inevitable, and Planet Earth is vast enough to accommodate the respective development and common prosperity of China and the US,” he said, referring to the widely-held view in the American establishment that, China is out to challenge the sole superpower status of the US.
The discussion in the meeting was, however, dominated by the escalating conflict in the Middle East after the brutal attack by Hamas militants on Israel on Saturday.
While Xi focussed his remarks on allaying the US’ fears of China challenging its superpower status saying, “How China and the US get along will determine the future of humanity,” Schumer told the Chinese leader that he was “very disappointed” that China has not condemned the Hamas militants attack on Israeli civilians.
“I urge you and the Chinese people to stand with the Israeli people and condemn these cowardly and vicious attacks,” Schumer said.
China on Sunday called Israel and Palestine to exercise restraint and immediately end the hostilities, without naming Hamas and the attack in which over 1,100 people were killed on both sides.
On Monday, Beijing said it is probing reports that one of its citizens attending a music party has been taken as hostage by the Hamas militants.
Meanwhile, reacting to Schumer’s comments that China should condemn the attack by Hamas militants, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning told a media briefing here that China opposes violence against civilians.
“We are saddened by the civilian casualties caused by the conflict. We oppose and condemn violence and attacks against civilians. The priority now is to get fighting to stop and restore peace as soon as possible. We hope relevant parties in the international community will play an active role and work together to de-escalate the situation,” she said on Monday.
Beijing, which backs the Palestinian state and also maintains close ties with Israel, is concerned that the new conflict will overshadow its successful diplomatic initiative of brokering a peace deal between Iran and Saudi Arabia in March this year.
The delegation of the US senators comprising three Democrats and as many Republicans is the first visit of American lawmakers since 2019.
The meeting comes amid US lawmakers asking China to iron out differences in trade and economic ties between the two world’s largest economies and a likely meeting between Xi and US President Joe Biden next month during a regional summit in San Francisco in a bid to manage the increasingly fraught relationship.
President Biden said Friday that he could potentially meet with Chinese President Xi on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in San Francisco.
(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)