John Kerry, former US Secretary of State, recently gave a speech on China-US relations at a roundtable hosted by the Center for China and Globalization (CCG) at the 56th Munich Security Conference (MSC).
The event, held on February 14, was hosted by CCG in its capacity as the MSC’s only non-governmental Chinese partner. The theme of the event was “US-China Cold War? Myth and Reality.” Wang Huiyao, president of CCG and counselor for China’s State Council, gave welcoming remarks. John Kerry, former US Secretary of State, gave a speech.
No one's ever won a trade war. No one won this one.
Kerry remarked that the US and China, as two great nations, should not automatically fall into a role that drives each other apart and pushes the world away from dealing with critical challenges.
Kerry described the horrors of the first and second world wars, saying that after these devastating conflicts, the world tried to put together a more stable, peaceful system. Kerry famously testified against U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War and was an anti-war campaigner.
Kerry encouraged China, destined to be the biggest economy in the world, to carefully think about measuring history against where the US and China are heading to.
Concerns about Huawei controlling 5G networks?
Kerry said that the US would like to see 5G developed as fast as possible if it can guarantee accountability, transparency, and mutuality. However, he did note concerns about “back doors” and emphasized the importance of rules for cybersecurity, which creates risk for politics and many other fields, making effective cybersecurity more important than ever.
Kerry acknowledged that China probably has the same fears the US has, noting that the US had planted a program called Stuxnet into Iran, which delayed their nuclear program.
Kerry pointed out that there is no need for the United States and China to lead the world into a new cold war. In the discussion after his speech, he reminded the audience that “war is the failure of diplomacy,” a failure to balance interests that every country has.
Kerry observed with regret that US politics has moved from being based on facts to emotions, and said that China needs to factor that in and be restrained and mature. He also noted about the bi-partisan nature of the consensus that has emerged around China’s unfair trading practices and went on to warn about the US and China being sucked, against rational understanding, into a place where terrible mistakes could be made, suggesting there are many areas of potential cooperation such as tackling climate change.
Over many decades, Kerry has devoted considerable efforts to push for public action on climate change. Last year he formed World War Zero, a new bipartisan coalition of world leaders, business executives and celebrities to combat climate change.
Kerry said that raising awareness of climate change and the need for clean solutions could help change attitudes, so instead of a cold war, we have a war against the climate crisis.