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A big country (should be like) the delta low-regions,

Being the concourse of the world,

(And) the Female of the world.

The Female overcomes the Male by quietude,

And achieves the lowly position by quietude.

Therefore if a big country places itself below a small country

It absorbs the small country.

(And) if a small country places itself below a big country,

It absorbs the big country.

Therefore some place themselves low to absorb (others),

Some are (naturally) low and absorb (others).

What a big country wants is but to shelter

others,

And what a small country wants is but

to be able to

come in and be sheltered.

Thus (considering) that both may have what they want,

A big country ought to place itself low.

大国者下流,天下之牝,天下之交。牝常以静胜牡,以静为下。故大国以下小国,则取小国;小国以下大国,则取大国。故或下以取,或下而取。大国不过欲兼畜人,小国不过欲入事人。夫两者各得所欲,大者宜为下。

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