US, China at cru­cial mo­ment: Rudd

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSS AMERICA - By ZHANG RUINAN in New York ru­[email protected]­nadai­

US-China re­la­tions are at a cru­cial mo­ment and both sides need to think clearly about one an­other through the fog of per­cep­tion and mis­per­cep­tion, the for­mer prime min­is­ter of Aus­tralia said in a speech on Wed­nes­day, adding that the meet­ing of the two na­tions’ lead­ers on the side­lines of the G20 sum­mit bought valu­able time for the two sides to re­solve their dif­fer­ences.

“Are we now, as Gra­ham Allison warns us, ‘des­tined for war’, or is a new strate­gic equi­lib­rium now pos­si­ble be­tween the two?” Kevin Rudd, pres­i­dent of the Asia Society asked the au­di­ence at the Asia Society New York dur­ing a dis­cus­sion on Wed­nes­day.

He said to an­swer th­ese gen­uinely hard ques­tions, peo­ple from the both sides need to “think clearly about our val­ues, our in­ter­ests and our iden­tity”.

“They force us to think through care­fully what is es­sen­tial, what is non-es­sen­tial, where should there be com­pro­mise, and what should re­main con­testable,” he added.

Rudd urged that the ques­tion “must be an­a­lyzed and an­swered soon” be­cause US-China re­la­tions are now in “po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous ter­rain — some sort of ‘no man’s land’ be­tween one set of strate­gic as­sump­tions about each other that have stood for sev­eral decades, and a brave new world where ev­ery­thing may be up for grabs.”

Rudd said be­fore talk­ing about the prospects on the fu­ture US-China re­la­tions, it’s im­por­tant to take a look at the state of the re­la­tion­ship at year’s end in the aftermath of the Buenos Aires Sum­mit.

Rudd said the meet­ing be­tween US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping last week­end in Buenos Aires “bought valu­able, though lim­ited, time for them­selves and the world”.

At last week­end’s din­ner meet­ing in Ar­gentina, the pres­i­dents agreed to sus­pend a planned hike in tar­iffs on $200 bil­lion in Chi­nese goods to the US from 10 per­cent to 25 per­cent.

As for the China side, the Min­istry of Com­merce said on its web­site on Wed­nes­day that China will start to quickly im­ple­ment spe­cific items where there’s con­sen­sus with the US and push for­ward on trade ne­go­ti­a­tions within the 90-day timetable and road map.

Rudd said there are five com­plex pol­icy dis­agree­ments to work through be­fore the dead­line of March 1, 2019 in­clud­ing the bi­lat­eral trade im­bal­ance, mar­ket ac­cess re­stric­tions, in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty pro­tec­tion, tech­nol­ogy trans­fer and tech­nol­ogy com­pe­ti­tion.

He said be­sides set­ting a dead­line to re­solve those prob­lems, the 90-day pause would also give the two lead­ers some time for the do­mes­tic economy is­sues.

“By March, Trump will have a fuller idea of the lay of his do­mes­tic eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal land­scape. He will then know the ex­tent of any sig­nif­i­cant soft­en­ing in the economy al­ready in­duced by mon­e­tary pol­icy tight­en­ing by the Fed,” said Rudd.

Rudd said he thinks there’s a pos­si­bil­ity that China will cham­pion global free trade and ar­rest­ing the global trend to­ward pro­tec­tion­ism that cur­rently threat­ens the wider global economy with a bold an­nounce­ment on trade lib­er­al­iza­tion across the board.

Chi­nese eco­nomic re­form­ers have seen the greater in­tro­duc­tion of wholly-owned for­eign fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions into the Chi­nese do­mes­tic mar­ket as be­ing a new way of graft­ing th­ese mar­ket dis­ci­plines onto the Chi­nese sys­tem, he added.

“This year, for ex­am­ple we have seen a num­ber of for­eign in­vest­ment lim­i­ta­tions eased for en­try into China’s $45 tril­lion fi­nan­cial ser­vices sec­tor,” said Rudd.

Rudd said that right now, what he con­cerned the most is the mis­un­der­stand­ing and mis­per­cep­tion be­tween the peo­ple of the two na­tions. “We need to be care­ful about the man­ner in which it (de­bate about each other) is con­ducted in both our coun­tries,” said Rudd.

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