Source: Global Times Published: 2020-1-9
US President Donald Trump said at a press conference in Washington, DC, Wednesday that "No Americans were harmed" in the missile attacks by Iran. He didn't say the US will launch military retaliation, only that it will impose "additional punishing economic sanctions" on Iran.
Chinese experts said this is good news for the world that tensions are likely to be eased.
Diao Daming, an associate professor at Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Thursday that Trump's address showed that the US has already got what it wants, such as the death of a major hostile figure in the region, and no military retaliation being announced has also pacified Americans who are worried about a war.
"Additionally, Trump also forced Iran to change its stance on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal, as the US has already withdrawn from it," he added.
"That's why the US can tolerate the attacks, and this also showed that Iran is restrained," he said.
A military expert at a Beijing-based military academy who asked for anonymity said the attacks may have damaged some US equipment and facilities, but no one get hurt, "so the US and Iran might have some tacit understanding to manage the tension - the US let Iran hit its military bases, and Iran hit the precise targets without injuring US personnel."
But now the challenge is on Iran's side. Chinese experts asked whether those furious Iranians are going to accept that no US personnel were killed, and whether Tehran could give up further retaliation.
Diao said if Iran launches another round of attacks, whether it causes US casualties or not, Trump would not be able to maintain restraint, and there would be an escalation.
"The United States is ready to embrace peace with all who seek it," Trump said at the conference.
Trump also urged the relevant parties of the JCPOA, including China, Russia, the UK, France and Germany to realize the JCPOA is ineffective in stopping Iran from getting nuclear weapons and a new Iran nuclear deal is needed.
Diao said the effectiveness of the JCPOA depends on the US. "If the US can't keep its word and always fails to fulfill a signed agreement, no deal would be effective."
China as a responsible major power of the world and a relevant party of the JCPOA will keep making efforts to bring the US and Iran back to the negotiation table "but the key to a solution is not in China's hands but in the US and Iran's," he noted.
Diao Daming is a research fellow of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China.