Never before has the China-U.S. relationship been so complicated to comprehend, and too important to fail.
Saturday marks Rex Tillerson’s first visit to China as secretary of state. Many speculate that one of the top U.S. diplomat’s missions in Beijing over the weekend is to communicate with the Chinese side over a possible meeting between the heads of state of the two countries in the coming weeks.
Prior to Tillerson’s visit, recent days have seen a number of positive developments in the China-U.S. relations.
In a telephone conversation last month between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his U.S. Counterpart Donald Trump, the two leaders pledged to build a constructive bilateral relationship.
President Trump once wrote on Twitter that Washington need not to be bound by the one China policy. While speaking with Xi, he reversed that stance and reassured his Chinese counterpart that the U.S. government will honor the long-standing principle, something fundamental for the world’s most important bilateral ties.
The world’s top two economies do have every reason to remain committed to a strong relationship because of their broad range of shared interests, especially in trade and commerce.
The two-way trade of goods last year exceeded 519.6 billion U.S. dollars, according to the Chinese ministry of commerce. That makes China America’s largest trading partner, while America China’s second largest.
Also, instead of taking away U.S. manufacturing jobs, economic and trade exchanges between the two countries have actually supported more than 2.6 million jobs across a host of U.S. industries from automobile, construction equipment to agriculture.
These facts and statistics are a clear-cut demonstration of the interdependence of the world’s top two economies. Any setbacks in bilateral ties would cause immeasurable harm to both sides.
Tillerson’s trip also comes at a time when Asia-Pacific and the wider world are facing a trove of thorny issues that require close coordination between the two countries, notably on the situation in the Korean Peninsula.
Before he arrives in Beijing, the U.S. diplomat visited South Korea, where he called for a new approach to deal with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and hinted that military options against Pyongyang are on the table.
However, there is nothing new in this approach. These same tactics were once used by Trump’s predecessor George W. Bush, and failed.
In the early years of his presidency, then U.S. President Bush implemented an isolationist and coercive policy against the DPRK’s nuclear ambition, yet the DPRK did not back away.
Later, the Bush administration started to engage with the country both bilaterally and multilaterally. In exchange, Pyongyang closed its Yongbyon nuclear facilities in 2007, and returned to the negotiating table.
The approach illustrated that Washington needs to talk to the DPRK, not to terrorize it.
Before Tillerson set out on his Asian tour, the U.S state department said the secretary wanted to pursue “a results-oriented” relationship with China.
Positive results require effort and good faith from both sides. China has never fallen short of offering its fair share. It’s all up to Washington now. Enditem
by Xinhua writer Zhu Dongyang/NewsGhana.com.gh