Phone call could be be­gin­ning of change in Sino-US ties

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - Views -

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.

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