Ex­pert sees weak­ened China-US re­la­tion­ship

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - TOP NEWS - By ZHAO HUANXIN in Wash­ing­ton huanx­inzhao@ chi­nadai­lyusa.com

The bal­last keep­ing the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the world’s two largest economies up­right lies in their co­op­er­a­tion on global pub­lic good, which is be­ing un­der­mined by the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s “Amer­ica First” doc­trine, a se­nior re­searcher with a lead­ing US think tank said.

With­out that bal­last of co­op­er­a­tion, it is likely that US-China re­la­tions will be­come more volatile and bounce from good to bad and back on the ba­sis of small events, said David Dol­lar, se­nior fel­low with John L. Thorn­ton China Cen­ter of the Brook­ings In­sti­tu­tion.

For years, aca­demics and politi­cians in both Bei­jing and Wash­ing­ton have agreed that trade re­la­tions are the foun­da­tion of bi­lat­eral ties, given that China and the United States are each other’s largest trad­ing part­ners.

But Dol­lar said that China’s econ­omy is much less ex­port­de­pen­dent to­day than it was be­fore the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis in 2008.

“It is be­com­ing less true that the eco­nomic re­la­tion­ship is the foun­da­tion of the over­all re­la­tion­ship,” Dol­lar, who spe­cial­izes in for­eign pol­icy and global econ­omy and de­vel­op­ment, said in an in­ter­view.

“I see the ‘bal­last’ in the re­la­tion­ship be­ing the co­op­er­a­tion on global pub­lic good,” he said on Mon­day.

The two most im­por­tant ar­eas of pub­lic good for the US and China to co­op­er­ate on are cli­mate change and free trade, the for­mer World Bank and US Trea­sury China rep­re­sen­ta­tive said.

How­ever, US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s “Amer­ica first” doc­trine puts lit­tle or no value on th­ese, he said.

“We are in danger of los­ing that bal­last now be­cause the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion has a neg­a­tive view of many global pub­lic goods,” Dol­lar said.

The US-China co­op­er­a­tion on cli­mate change, cul­mi­nat­ing in the Paris Agree­ment in 2015, has been one of the best ex­am­ples of the two coun­tries work­ing to­gether to pro­vide global pub­lic good, Dol­lar said.

Other ex­am­ples in­clude their co­op­er­a­tion on nu­clear non­pro­lif­er­a­tion in the case of Iran, on Ebola virus con­trol in Africa and on piracy off the coast of Africa, Dol­lar said.

The Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive, pro­posed by Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping in 2013, has be­come the most pop­u­lar pub­lic good China is pro­vid­ing to the world, For­eign Min­is­ter Wang Yi said in March.

Dol­lar said the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive could pro­vide pub­lic good in the form of greater in­te­gra­tion and faster de­vel­op­ment of poor coun­tries.

YUE YUEWEI / XIN­HUA

Feng Yazhu, a dis­abled swim­mer, car­ries the torch to­ward its des­ti­na­tion at the 13th Na­tional Games in Tian­jin, Aug 27-Sept 8. Hers was the 33rd leg of the torch re­lay.

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