With sin­cer­ity US can build on con­sen­sus with China

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - Front Page -

No magic wand has been waved to make the dif­fer­ences be­tween the United States and China van­ish overnight. But the highly an­tic­i­pated talks be­tween Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping and US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump over din­ner in Buenos Aires on Satur­day have pro­duced a wel­come con­sen­sus that the two sides will work on ways to re­solve their dif­fer­ences: Most press­ingly their trade dis­pute, which had been threat­en­ing to de­te­ri­o­rate into a full-on trade war with the prospect of ad­di­tional tar­iffs loom­ing on Jan 1.

The fact that the two lead­ers could sit down for can­did talks and agree to avoid the loom­ing es­ca­la­tion of trade tar­iffs to al­low for con­tin­u­ing trade ne­go­ti­a­tions, shows that both sides are aware of how dam­ag­ing they would be, not just to each other but the global econ­omy as a whole.

But given the com­plex­ity of in­ter­ac­tions be­tween the two economies, the rest of the world will still be hold­ing its col­lec­tive breath while it waits to see if the se­ries of con­struc­tive plans that are in the works can put bi­lat­eral re­la­tions back on a co­op­er­a­tive rather than con­fronta­tional track.

The vi­cis­si­tudes of bi­lat­eral trade and eco­nomic re­la­tions in the past months have shown that in brood­ing over China’s growing sta­tus in the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity, there are some in Wash­ing­ton who have let their con­cerns run away with their imag­i­na­tions.

There­fore, the pos­i­tive and con­struc­tive con­sen­sus reached on Satur­day be­tween the two lead­ers will be even more sig­nif­i­cant if it has helped to clear the air and cre­ated some breath­ing space for more ra­tio­nal think­ing that can har­ness their com­pe­ti­tion for the com­mon good.

China has said that it will work to re­solve the US ra­tio­nal con­cerns — and it has backed up its words with ac­tions by agree­ing to ex­pand US im­ports— but a last­ing im­prove­ment in bi­lat­eral re­la­tions is still de­pen­dent on the sin­cer­ity of the US to en­gage in equal-footed con­sul­ta­tions with China, bear­ing in mind the re­al­ity of China’s sit­u­a­tion.

That be­ing said, by end­ing the im­me­di­ate prospect of an es­ca­la­tion of their trade fric­tions, they have shown that both are will­ing to lis­ten to each other and are com­mit­ted to se­ri­ous di­a­logue.

If they can re­spect each other’s core in­ter­ests and en­gage in equal and earnest con­sul­ta­tions, they can ex­pand the scope of their com­mon in­ter­ests and shrink that of their dif­fer­ences, usher in brighter prospects for their re­la­tions. And that would be to the ben­e­fit of ev­ery­one.

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