Competition and cooperation have become the new normal between China and the US, said experts attending a think tank seminar in the US on Monday (US time), warning that bilateral ties will develop smoothly if cooperation prevails, but will be risky if competition takes the upper hand.

Nearly 100 Chinese and US experts exchanged views on such topics as Sino-US relations, local cooperation and the prospects of the bilateral relationship, during the US-China Think Tank Symposium in Des Moines, Iowa.

The symposium was jointly organized by Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR) and the World Food Prize Foundation (WFPF).

“The key to bilateral ties is to effectively manage competition,” said Cui Liru, former president of CICIR, suggesting consensus be reached on mutually beneficial cooperation.

Former US Ambassador to China Stapleton Roy said disagreements are normal, and what matters is to find a solution. If disagreements are not well managed and controlled, Sino-US relations will become frustrated, he warned.

“The meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump in Florida in April has built good cooperative and working relationships, setting an example for managing and controlling disagreements and promoting cooperation,” the former US ambassador said.

“The development of international relations doesn’t stop at such descriptions as the rise of China and the decline of the US,” said Tao Wenzhao, a researcher on US studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

The US is much more powerful than China. However, the world is marching towards economic globalization, the democratization of international relations and polarization, Tao said, adding that China, a country on the rise, will neither start all over again nor overturn the existing system.

The symposium participants spoke highly of China-US economic and trade relations. The 100-day action plan under the four-pronged dialogue mechanisms resulting from the meeting of Xi and Trump is a good start and has yielded fruit, said Zhang Yuyan, director of the Institute of World Economics and Politics under the CASS.

“China-US investment and trade enjoy great potential,” according to Zhao Jinping, research fellow and director-general of the Research Department of Foreign Economic Relations, Development Research Center of the State Council.

Zhao said that the investment environment in both countries can be further improved. In the future, the two countries will ink high-level bilateral agreements on investment, which will push trade and economic cooperation to a new high, the researcher added.

Cooperation between China and Iowa is a good example. Iowa is the second largest agricultural base in the US with an annual agricultural output of more than $30 billion. The state’s economic development is highlighted by its deepened collaboration with China.

Bill Northey, secretary of the Iowa Department of Agriculture, said thanks to increased agricultural trade between the two countries brought about by rising demand from China, more farmers in the state have expanded their cultivated area. Half of the state’s soybeans are exported to China.

“US enterprises are eager to cooperate with China,” said Wei Jianguo, vice-president of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges. Wei noted that upon their arrival in Iowa, the state’s agricultural machinery manufacturers asked them if China would cooperate more with the US side in agricultural machinery manufacturing.

WFPF president Kenneth Quinn said trade and economic cooperation will be conducive to both. And more importantly, closer collaboration in such sectors as agricultural technology and food safety are an important part and outcome of China-US economic and trade relations.

“Provincial or state level exchanges now work as new engines of bilateral exchanges. In the future, the two countries will eye more exchanges on lower levels,” said Yang Dali, senior consultant for the University of Chicago president.

Young people in the US hold a more positive impression about China than ordinary people, and they believe that the two countries will become partners, indicating they are optimistic about the future of Sino-US relations, Yang said.

Political issues used to dominate Sino-US relations, but people are delighted to see that the symposium focuses on agricultural cooperation, said Roy.

“As a close friend of the Chinese people, Iowa will always open its door to them,” Quinn said.

By Zhang Niansheng, Zhang Penghui and Gao Shi from People’s Daily/NewsGhana.com.gh