China-US science and technology deal would be a significant step backward, say analysts

China-US science and technology deal would be a significant step backward, say analysts

The China-US Agreement on Cooperation in Science and Technology has resulted in substantial benefits for both countries and the world over the past few decades, and throwing it away would be a significant step backward, analysts said.

The deal, signed in 1979, was one of the first bilateral agreements between China and the United States as the two countries began to normalize diplomatic ties.

Since then, bilateral cooperation in science and technology has grown in both scope and size, becoming a fundamental aspect of the overall China-US relationship and benefiting the global community, said He Yun, an associate professor in the School of Public Administration at Hunan University in Changsha.

The US has, in the past few years, hindered the normal cooperation and exchange of science and technology with China. This was done through tactics such as curbing critical technology investments in China, targeting Chinese tech companies, excluding Chinese scientists, and unfairly labeling Chinese students in the US as spies, she said.

Some US lawmakers have also criticized an extension of the agreement on national security grounds. The US State Department has only extended the deal for an additional six months, just days before it was to expire on Aug 27.

The agreement is a positive and necessary framework for technological cooperation, said Kenneth Pomeranz, a professor of Chinese history at the University of Chicago.

Despite facing numerous sanctions from the US, China's leading tech firm Huawei caught the world by surprise on August 29 with the release of its new flagship smartphone, the Mate 60 Pro. The popularity of this smartphone, which has been lauded for its 5G capabilities and full ownership of intellectual property, raised questions about the effectiveness of US efforts to hinder China's progress in advanced technology.

The US and China have their own advantages in the field of science and technology, Tse said. It can no longer be said that the US is completely dominant in science and technology globally. Both China and the US have exceptional skills. China has surpassed the US in the development of technologies in fields like e-commerce, solar energy, photovoltaics, and high-speed rail.