Phone call could be beginning of change in Sino-US ties
The phone talk between President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump on Thursday was probably the most positive signal in the past months in China-US relations haunted by tit-for-tat tariff retaliations and concerns over a new Cold War.
That they agreed to hold a meeting at the end of this month in Argentina on the sidelines of the G20 leaders’ summit is another positive signal. And the teams from the two sides will be working hard in the coming weeks to pave the way for a successful meeting.
Despite Trump’s China bashing rhetoric during his presidential campaign, the bilateral relationship started unexpectedly well during the first year of the Trump administration when the two leaders met in Mar-a-Lago, Florida, in April last year and again during Trump’s state visit to Beijing last November.
But that amicable relationship took a steep downturn when the US singled out China as a revisionist power in its National Security Strategy last December and followed it up by a series of unilateral and hawkish moves against China, including punitive tariffs on imports from China, restrictions on Chinese investment in the US and hostile speeches on China such as the one made by Vice-President Mike Pence at the Hudson Institute on Oct 4.
Fear-mongering about China, including the Chinese news media operating in the US, the 30,000-plus Chinese students studying in US universities and colleges and various academic and cultural exchanges between the two countries, has resurged drastically.