Xi-Trump call heralds new phase in relations
Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump spoke by phone Friday morning Beijing time. According to China Central Television, Trump stressed that he fully understood the great importance for the US government to respect the one-China policy and that the US will adhere to the one-China policy. This has become the most attention-grabbing part of the phone call.
Since assuming office, Trump and his team have changed their rhetoric about China. Trump has stopped openly challenging China’s core interests, and instead showed respect to Beijing.
The change creates an impression that Trump is learning about his role in the realm of Sino-US ties. He’s now sending a new message that he does not want to be a disruptor of the Sino-US relations.
This phone call between the top leaders is a sign that some confusion in the relationship has been sorted out at the current stage. The Sino-US ties have, after a little shiver, returned to where they are supposed to stand. Uncertainties still loom but they will be about specific interests. The Sino-US relations will continue to move forward under the complicated framework where cooperation and frictions coexist.
Before assuming office, Trump gave an impression that a trade war between the two countries was around the corner. The communications between the two countries since Trump came to power were not high profile but have now proven to be effective.
It’s always better for China and the US, the world’s No.1 and No.2 economies, to resolve their differences through dialogue rather than conflict. Neither country should try to break the other side’s bottom line.
In terms of national strength, the US is more powerful than China. However the US has broader interests around the globe and some of its interests extend close to China’s area of core interest. This has led to a special type of balance in East Asia, especially in areas around China, where China’s strength and resolution to defend its core interests matches with that of the US.
Beijing and Washington are making history. China and the US are by far the most civilized rising power and established power in history. If peace and cooperation is securely maintained between the two countries, the leaders of this transitional period will go down in history.
The phone call between Xi and Trump marks the beginning of a new stage of diplomatic interactions between the top leaders. There are many unresolved issues that need to be addressed. When facing difficulty, neither country should act impetuously. They should know that even if some problems cannot be removed like a rock, when the time comes, they can be submerged under the river of history.