Con­trary to claims, Trump has shown diplo­matic wis­dom

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - VIEWS - The au­thor is deputy ed­i­tor of China Daily USA. chen­wei­hua@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has taken a lot of heat for stat­ing in a “lengthy” and “ex­tremely cor­dial” phone talk with Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping last week that he would honor the one-China pol­icy. He was mocked and crit­i­cized for “back­ing away from a fight” and “blink­ing first”.

His crit­ics seem anx­ious to stir up trou­ble be­tween the world’s two largest economies.

What Trump did is sim­ply cor­rect­ing a mis­take he made in the past few months, when he spoke on the phone with Tai­wan leader Tsai Ing-wen in early De­cem­ber, when he told Fox News a few days later that “I don’t know why we have to be bound by a one-China pol­icy un­less we make a deal with China hav­ing to do with other things” and when he told the Wall Street Jour­nal in Jan­uary that “every­thing is un­der ne­go­ti­a­tion, in­clud­ing ‘One China’ ”.

Such a de­par­ture from the diplo­matic pro­to­col of China-US re­la­tions nat­u­rally drew strong protests from China, and re­bukes from many in the United States, in­clud­ing iron­i­cally some who later chided him for his about-face.

Zhicuo neng­gai, shan mo­dayan is a Chi­nese proverb from a story about China’s Spring and Au­tumn pe­riod (770-476 BC) more than 2,000 years ago, which is equiv­a­lent to the Western say­ing of “A fault con­fessed is half re­dressed.”

But as long as the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion dis­cards the zero-sum men­tal­ity, and works with China to ex­pand co­op­er­a­tion and man­age dis­agree­ments, it might be a worth­while bet.

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