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Interview: China’s reform, opening-up has benefited China-U.S. ties — expert (Xinhua)

December 20, 2018 – “ATLANTA, the United States, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) — A U.S. expert on China has said that China’s reform and opening-up in the past 40 years has produced significant results that have benefited both China and the United States, which bodes well for bilateral ties.

Benjamin Shobert, who specializes in China’s aging, healthcare reform and pharmaceutical industry, made the remarks in a recent interview with Xinhua. His latest book “Blaming China: It Might Feel Good but It Won’t Fix America’s Economy” was published earlier this year.

“Relative to China’s reform and opening-up, I think people in the United States and in China should give themselves an enormous amount of credit for the positive changes that have happened,” Shobert said.

“Right now with the current administration, it’s comfortable to think that there are more problems than there are solutions. But if you look back at the last 40 years, I would argue that we’ve actually made significant progress in that China’s reforms continue to point in the general direction of a country that the United States can build sustainable relationships with,” he said.

Regarding the Chinese government’s pledge to continue reform and opening-up, “we should have good expectations,” he added.

While speaking about the present China-U.S. relations, the expert said that although the world’s two largest economies are going to continue a very “challenging” relationship, he, as an American, is “much more concerned with and focused on what happens here (in the United States).”

“I think much of the administration’s attempt to characterize America’s economic problems as being entirely a byproduct of the U.S.-China relationship is a mistake,” he said. “There are significant challenges relative to technology, to financial engineering that actually constitute much more significant problems for the average Americans than the U.S.-China relationship specifically, or globalization in general.”

“To me, if we want to get the U.S.-China relationship right for another 40 years, we have to get a lot of things in the United States right first,” he said, listing investment in infrastructure, healthcare and basic science as priority.

Nevertheless, despite all the challenges ahead for the evolving China-U.S. partnership, Shobert said it is very possible that the two nations could manage to compete and cooperate at the same time.

“I think any of us who have siblings know what it’s like to be competitive with someone that we actually like, and so the hope is that the United States and China can figure out a way to be competitors, but they can also always keep in mind that we have much more in common than what we do that makes us different,” said the expert.”