Sino-US ties are sound, Murdoch says, but America must adjust

(From Caixin Online)

The United States will have to make room for the rising power, says News Corp. boss, who also discusses the changes brought to the world by new technology and social media

By Hu Shuli and Wang Shuo

There are no serious problems in the Sino-U.S. relationship, but the United States should adjust itself to a rising China, News Corp. executive chairman Rupert Murdoch recently said during an exclusive interview with Caixin.

Rupert Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch

Murdoch gave the interview shortly after meeting President Xi Jinping, who just made his first state visit to the U.S. Both China and the United States have had disputes on issues ranging from cybersecurity to the South China Sea. However, Murdoch said neither country wants a war and that concerns over cybersecurity in the West are exaggerated. He added that individual and corporate behavior should be distinguished from that of governments.

During the interview, he also answered questions about challenges traditional media outlets face in the Internet age, especially from social media.

“That’s just the world getting more complicated, more interesting and going ahead faster,” he said of these new platforms. “If people exchange ideas faster, then you have faster innovation. We’ve seen incredible innovations in the world in the last 10 or 15 years. It’s in America. It’s now coming very fast to China and you’re going to find it going twice as fast in the next 10 years.”

The following are excerpts of Caixin’s interview with Murdoch.

Caixin: We know that you have just met President Xi Jinping. What’s your impression of him

Rupert Murdoch: He is a very impressive man, very powerful and very thoughtful. He’s clearly thinking a lot about his coming visit to United States and Europe. It’s very important that the world learns more about China and what it’s thinking about. We have to understand that in the last 100 years, the United States has been a preeminent power in the world. Ever since British Empire went bankrupt in the First World War 100 years ago, America has emerged. Now America has to get used to another great power. I’m not saying the greatest one, but another great power. There is a lot of adjustment and a lot of misunderstanding of each other’s different civilization, different histories. So there is a great deal of work to be done, starting with our leaders.

But we have heard the mood regarding the Sino-U.S. in the United States is very negative now. Is it?

No, I don’t think so. I said they have to get used to the idea that China is emerging, is a great power, but this is a bad time. We have an election in America. All the people are vying to be nominees and want to look very tough and take it a little more seriously. Then they become elected and reality sets in.

What is your take on the Sino-U.S. relationship and on talks for a Bilateral Investment Treaty?

I think we must push ahead with more trade. But in the past, we’ve had a lot of welcoming the idea of Western investment in China. Now there are signs that it’s getting more difficult. I notice we are having trouble in Australia, my own country, and in the rumbles of it in America about Chinese investors in a large way, in industry there. But equally, it should be easier for Western countries to invest in this country. There should be very clear rule of law so they know how to behave. We need clear laws here so people can invest with confidence. Both countries will gain from that.

What do you think of the South China Sea issue?

I think we have to understand that America has allies, like the Philippines. It believes they have rights. We’re arguing about little fringes, a lot of sea, and of course, all ships and all trade should be free. If China is worried about its trade routes to its new markets in Africa then, of course, the South China Sea should always be a frontier to Chinese shipping, as to other peoples.

Cybersecurity is another difficult issue. Do you worry that this issue will hurt ties?

I don’t think there is any serious issue between China and America. Neither one wants to have a war. Neither.

What about cybersecurity?

I think it’s exaggerated. We don’t really know how much is done by governments. Clearly, the intelligence services of all countries, including America, are active in this area. I think cybersecurity, when it comes to individual companies, individual people hacking into intellectual property and stealing it, that has got to be stopped. There has to be a clear understanding about that. China now, as it’s developing, is getting very jealous of its own intellectual property, and it doesn’t want it to be stolen by Americans or Europeans or amateurs who are able to do this. So it’s got to work both ways.

There is a presidential campaign going on right now in United States.

Would you be comfortable endorsing any of these candidates?

Yes, I think there are a lot of good candidates, but we don’t to endorse at this stage. When it’s worked out, when there’s one on either side, then maybe.

After visiting the United States, Xi will go to Britain. What do you think of the Sino-British relationship?

I know this firsthand. The U.K. is very enthusiastic. The chancellor of the exchequer (George Osborne) is arriving in China, today, in a few hours, to further this. And I believe a lot of preparation is going on for that visit by President Xi. I would be very surprised if it is not really good. We don’t have the same differences between China and the U.K. that exist between China and America. Read more




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