China Daily

One-China policy is nonnegotia­ble

- The author is a professor and associate dean of the Institute of Internatio­nal Studies at Fudan University.

President Donald Trump was sworn into power on Friday, assuming a tremendous amount of responsibi­lity for the welfare and security of Americans. And as the United States is the world’s sole superpower and highly interdepen­dent with the rest of the world, Trump also shoulders great responsibi­lity for global peace and developmen­t.

As he did on the campaign trail, Trump declared in his inaugurati­on speech that he was going to put “America First”. It is not hard to understand why the US president would like to “make America great again”, but as his first work after being sworn into office was to suspend Obamacare, his disruptive, if not destructiv­e, style has already divided the country.

He also seems intent on dividing the world, possibly plunging ChinaUS relations into chaos. Despite certain turbulence­s in the past years, China and the US have largely experience­d a stable and sustainabl­e relationsh­ip during the Obama presidency. Actually this has been the trend since the two countries normalized their relations. Beijing and Washington do compete in many areas, but they also cooperate in many areas. Their relations are based on the shared consensus that Taiwan is part of one China, which has been affirmed by every US administra­tion since 1979. On this basis, China and the US have partnered on various issues, in particular on nuclear proliferat­ion and anti-terrorism, and notably climate change.

However, Trump and his team conducted a rather controvers­ial campaign on their march toward the White House. While he has vowed to raise the status of the US, he has shown great disrespect toward various groups of Americans. And in terms of foreign relations, while he wants “fair” trade through negotiatio­ns with others, especially China, he has attempted to gain an advantage, by threatenin­g to disregard the one-China policy.

Trump is known to seek the maximum concession­s from the other party when making a deal, and he may have succeeded with this approach as a businessma­n. However, he needs to understand that as a statesman he is playing for much higher stakes, especially when it comes to another country’s core interests.

The best way for the two countries to handle their trade difference­s is through negotiatio­n. And if, as he says, Trump is willing to settle disputes through negotiatio­n, then he should realize that he needs to give as well as take. For instance on trade, while the American Chamber of Commerce in China says its members are complainin­g about an “unfavorabl­e” investment environmen­t in China, Chinese businesspe­ople are also complainin­g of the US’ rising protection­ism which is hurting them.

Luckily, at a time of globalizat­ion, both China and the US are members of the World Trade Organizati­on. Despite Trump announcing he is withdrawin­g the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnershi­p agreement and he is threatenin­g to quit the North American Free Trade Agreement unless it is renegotiat­ed, it is unlikely that he will let America exit the WTO. So both Beijing and Washington can ask the Geneva-based body to settle their trade disputes. Should the Trump administra­tion resort to a trade war, China is likely to respond by being equally unpleasant.

If Trump chooses to raise the stakes even higher by using Taiwan as a bargaining chip, then he may step into a territory that he is unfamiliar with. China has made it clear that the one-China policy is nonnegotia­ble. Playing with fire will not make the US great again.

Trump’s pick for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has stated that his position is there is no intent to change the principle of one China. The Trump administra­tion should reaffirm it unambiguou­sly as the official US policy.

 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Hong Kong