Commentary: From co-evolution to decoupling, a new US-China relationship


NEW HAVEN: Henry Kissinger, US secretary of state from 1973 to 1977, remains a rock star in China. So when US-Chinese relations go awry, Chinese leaders turn to Kissinger.

In his 2011 book On China, Kissinger proposed that the United States and China should “pursue their domestic imperatives, cooperating where possible, and adjust their relations to minimise conflict”.

He calls this “co-evolution”. And amid heightened tensions between the two countries, the veteran diplomat emphasised to Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing that cooperation between the two countries is “essential for peace and progress in the world”.

Meanwhile in Washington, the atmosphere is not so friendly with talk of “decoupling” from China. President Donald Trump’s strategists expect this to be effective in countering Beijing’s influence and shifting the global supply chain.

The process would also minimise the two countries’ reliance on each other on matters of economics and geopolitics, even to the extent of exclusion.