Despite tension, US, China could set ‘rules of the road’
DESPITE speculation the US-China relationship could fall into uncertainties and instability under the Trump administration, experts say the two powers could avoid the case by holding an early dialogue to establish “rules of the road”.
As newly-inaugurated US President Donald Trump is poised to take a tougher stance toward China on a range of issues, the experts hope the two countries could find a new “modus vivendi” through talks in a one-or-two-year timespan.
On his year-long campaign trail, Trump kept hammering China for the US trade deficit and losses of jobs. He has threatened to designate China as a “currency manipulator” and impose high tariffs on Chinese goods, regardless of the potential damage to both sides, as the two economies are deeply intertwined.
Trump even claimed that everything, including the one-China policy that has always been upheld by his predecessors, is negotiable.
Bonnie Glaser, a sinologist at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Xinhua she expects “a lot of friction” in the US-China relationship in the first year of the Trump administration.
Glaser said the Taiwan issue could have the most harmful impact on the bilateral relationship if the new US government has a fundamental policy shift, as Beijing considers the one-China policy as the political foundation of the relationship.
Under the three joint communiques governing China-US ties, the US is obliged to abide by the one-China policy, which recognises that Taiwan is part of China and Beijing is the sole legal representative of China.
Michael O’Hanlon, a senior fellow of the Brookings Institution, told Xinhua that tensions in US-China ties are expected under the Trump administration, citing tough comments made by Rex Tillerson, Trump’s nominee for secretary of state, at a recent Senate hearing.
Tillerson demanded a halt to China’s construction activities in the South China Sea waters while vowing to deny China’s access to the islands, which China regards as integral parts of its territory.
The issues of dealing with North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme and cyber security could also test the US-China relationship, Dan Mahaffee, vice-president and director of policy of the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, said.
But experts downplayed the possibility the two countries are headed for military conflict. Xinhua