Trump's letter sends goodwill to Chinese

Source:Global Times Published: 2017/2/9 16:18:39

The White House issued a statement on Wednesday that US President Donald Trump sent a letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping, thanking Xi for his congratulatory letter on the occasion of his inauguration and wishing the Chinese people a happy Lantern Festival and prosperous Year of the Rooster. Trump stated that he looks forward to working with Xi to develop a constructive relationship that benefits both countries.

Trump's letter is widely seen as a sign of goodwill that the new US government sent to China. Since Trump's inauguration, the While House has communicated actively with many countries while the contact between the Chinese and US heads of state was absent, which drew public attention. Trump ended the wait by offering the Chinese people late lunar New Year greetings.

Trump's team made some disparaging remarks on China's core interests when Trump was president-elect. But the situation changed after January 20. Since then, the attitude of the Trump's team has become more restrained. The attendance of Ivanka Trump at a Spring Festival reception at the Chinese Embassy in Washington was interpreted as a positive sign. The phone conversation between Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi and the US Presidential National Security Affairs Assistant Michael Flynn as well as the closed-door talks between Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and Chinese ambassador to the US Cui Tiankai also garnered attention.            

Over the past few weeks, more positive signs have emerged between China and the US, making people re-evaluate the trajectory of the bilateral relationship under Trump.

The China-US relationship is unique. As the world's largest and second largest economy, the two countries are not allies. They severely lack strategic trust, but have been engaged in unprecedented close economic cooperation.

The overall landscape of the bilateral relationship reflects the strengths of the two and aligns with people's understanding of contemporary international politics. In Sino-US ties, the US is in a more advantageous position but has shown due respect to China. China has more say in the bilateral relationship compared with Japan and European countries in their relations with the US.

The current China-US engagement should be able to remain the same in the future. It is understandable that Trump embraces the idea of "America first" during his campaign and makes it his policy when interacting with China. But at the same time, the White House needs to understand Beijing's principle when it defends Chinese interests. A beneficial Sino-US relationship should serve both US and Chinese interests.

The intricacies of China-US ties mainly lie in their trade relations and how the US views China's core interests. China respects the influence of the US on the world arena. Meanwhile, China has been rapidly rising, which grants it more say in the above-mentioned intricacies. The US should also acknowledge this trend.

The trajectory of China-US relations will determine the nature of the 21st century international relations. Whether it is to "make America great again" or to rejuvenate China, a peaceful and stable world is a prerequisite. A new type of China-US major power relationship is the sole option across the Pacific.

The former US President may have had less courage in this regard. We hope Trump can demonstrate a greater vision.

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