China and US may be rivals, but cooperation is possible and desirable

Humanitarian assistance is one field. Both could even work together on maintaining freedom of navigation in areas where their interests overlap.

An MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter taking off from the US Navy aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan in the South China Sea in July. Although the People’s Liberation Army’s military strength lags behind that of the US military in general, in the West Pacific, the gap is closing in China’s favour. PHOTO: REUTERS

That Mr Joe Biden will soon occupy the White House instead of Mr Donald Trump will not necessarily elicit sighs of relief in Beijing. However different Mr Biden might be from Mr Trump personally, the great power competition initiated by the Trump administration and backed by a bipartisan congressional consensus will not only remain on course but also likely intensify in the decades to come.

Of course, nothing is more worrisome than a military conflict between two nuclear powers, but this is not impossible, given rising tensions in the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea.

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