BEIJING The United States should alter policy to take account of China's role as a major player on the world stage if it wants to avoid friction and instability, a major state newspaper said on Thursday.
The commentary in ruling Communist Party mouthpiece the People's Daily followed the latest spat in Sino-U.S. ties, over what China views as unwarranted U.S. interference in a territorial dispute in the South China Sea.
While senior officials, including U.S. President Barack Obama, say they welcome a prosperous, flourishing China, good words must be backed up by actions, the newspaper said.
"If the United States cannot find a way of recognizing and accepting China's entrance on the world stage as a big player, relations will swerve up and down like a roller coaster," it said.
"This instability in relations will have a negative effect not only on bilateral ties but on the world, and that is not something anyone wants to see."
Obama started out well, it said, with his visit to China last year, but arguments over U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, Google Inc. and the value of the Chinese currency showed nothing has really changed in the United States.
"On the issue of how to co-exist with a rapidly developing China, Washington has in fact not thought things through in a calm manner."
It was wrong to think, as some experts in the United States believe, that China will be flexible on certain issues as relations between the two sides deepen, the commentary said, suggesting more discord to come.
"On cardinal questions of right and wrong, China has flinched neither in the past nor the present, and will not do so in the future," the newspaper said.
"It is impossible that when China's bottom line in reached there will not be a response. The state of Sino-U.S. relations directly impacts upon or even decides global peace and stability, especially in the Asia-Pacific region ... Future ties to a large degree hinge upon whether Washington can control its 'impulses'."
China, it said, was simply pushing back in the same way as the United States.
"'It is impolite not to reciprocate'," it added, quoting a classic Confucian text. "There is no lack of China experts in Washington who should fully understand the meaning of this."
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Emma Graham-Harrison and Ron Popeski)