Thursday, February 23, 2017

China and Trump: retrospect and prospect

By Wenshan Jia

It has been a few days more than a month since Mr. Donald Trump was inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States.

The rollercoaster ride consisting of his super-hawkish rhetoric against China he would articulate on his campaign trail, the hawkish attitudes towards China expressed by some of his key advisers, and his short-lived wild play of the Taiwan card was suddenly ended (or at least paused) by his mindful acceptance of Chinese President Xi Jinping's request during the Xi-Trump telephone call on February 9, 2017 to adhere to the One-China policy.

President Trump's promise was soon followed and reinforced by his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's friendly meeting with China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the sidelines of a G-20 meeting at Bonn, Germany on February 16, 2017.  Tillerson is quoted saying to Wang Yi at the meeting at Bonn, Germany: "The definition of US-China relations can only be friendly."

Such a positive turn of the US-China relations , following the pattern of past US presidents' shifting attitudes towards China, is partially credited to quite a few reported mutual public diplomacy endeavors such as Jack Ma's meeting with President-Elect Trump about his company Alibaba's proposal to create 1 million jobs in E-commerce in the United States, followed by President Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump and Trump's grand-daughter's attendance at the Chinese New Year Party in the Chinese Embassy to the US at Washington D. C., and so on.

Partial credit should also be given to the comprehensive and authoritative consulting report "US Policy towards China, Recommendation for a New Administration" and its bi-partisan Task Force on US-China Policy co-chaired by Orville Schell of Asia Society and Susan Shirk of UCSD. 

Last but not least, some credit should be given to Dr. Henry Kissinger who met and advised President-Elect Trump and Mr. Tung Chee-hwa who met Mr. Jared Kushner, President's son-in-law and adviser, both about US-China relations, to name only a few.

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