Commentary: On DPRK and other issues, U.S. zero-sum mentality to produce no winners, only losers

Huang Panyue

BEIJING, Jan. 3 (Xinhua) -- The nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula prompted an aggressive response from incoming U.S. President Donald Trump at the onset of 2017, suggesting a zero-sum mentality that may increase uncertainties in the year ahead.

Pyongyang "just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the U.S. It won't happen!"

Trump tweeted the remark one day after Kim Jong Un, top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), said Sunday in his New Year's address that the DPRK's preparations for launching an intercontinental ballistic missile have "reached the final stage."

Once again, Trump's response suggests that a zero-sum mentality will likely guide Washington's future foreign policies.

Without moves to address the security concerns of Pyongyang, the Korean Peninsula's denuclearization will never happen. It should be remembered that military provocations have repeatedly incited it to do just the opposite.

For example, in April 2009, due in part to the U.S.-South Korea joint military exercise, it quit the denuclearization promises it made in talks with Washington, Beijing, Moscow, Seoul and Tokyo, as well as the six-party talks.

Pyongyang also blamed U.S. hostilities toward it for its withdrawal at the time.

As maintaining regional and global stability calls for efforts from every country, a zero-sum game with one winner at the expense of the other party will in the end produce no real winner.

Such a mentality on Washington's part will not only kill any chance for reopening the stalled six-party talks on the Korean Peninsula's denuclearization, but also jeopardize its relations with other parties, for example, Beijing.

It is expected to lead to a "one-sided" way for Washington, exactly what Trump criticized Beijing for, collaterally in his Monday response to Pyongyang.

"China has been taking out massive amounts of money & wealth from the U.S. in totally one-sided trade," he tweeted, adding that China would not help with the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula.

This is a comment that ignores the fact that the world's two largest economies are each other's major trade partner, with an annual 7 percent growth in bilateral trade.

U.S. exports to China of products and services help create nearly a million jobs at home, while investments from Chinese enterprises bring some 100,000 jobs in total to more than 40 U.S. states.

Meanwhile, it is also a fact that the China-proposed six-party talks have proved so far to be the only way out as regards to the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula.

Insight and vision, not a zero-sum mentality, are needed for Washington to seek a healthy development of its ties with Beijing, currently the world's most important bilateral relationship.

Cooperation never rules out competition. Both parties should work together to constructively control their differences, which are far less than the interests they share.

Win-win cooperation between them marked by mutual trust and benefits will also serve regional and global security and stability, as well as common development and prosperity for all.



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