Former US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said the two world’s biggest economies: US and China will experience “long winter” if they continue to divide. He spoke of an “economic iron curtain,” which symbolises the divide between the two powerful nations that will eventually bring disharmony to other countries as well.

“China is viewed by a growing consensus not just as a strategic challenge to the US, but also as a country whose rise has come at America’s expense,” said Mr Paulson, former chairman of Goldman Sachs, reported The Strait Times.  He said the Chinese officials will have their own concerns about US policy; and the administration must not prevent  Chinese investments in the US, if there is no national security risks involved.

The Strait Times reported: “He [Paulson] advocated competition reforms to level the playing field for foreign companies, and even for private Chinese firms against state-owned enterprises. The Chinese government should also let its private and state-owned firms have a free hand in running their businesses, rather than act as “agents of the state”. And China should cultivate and protect innovation and end the practice of forced technology transfer, he said.”

So now, Paulson raises the big question: “how long will this winter last and how much unnecessary dysfunction and pain will be inflicted along the way?” The answer, however “will be determined by the capacity and willingness of leaders in Washington and Beijing to think creatively—and sometimes, even disruptively.”