US President Donald Trump
said the Treasury Department will not label China as a currency manipulator in its semi-annual report. He explicitly noted that China is "not a currency manipulator."
Trump lashed out strongly at China's currency policies during his campaign. In February, he made the strongest accusation when he declared China the "world champions" of currency manipulation.
Trump's rowing back of his accusations is a welcome move and shows the new US government's practical approach to the Chinese currency. Starting from last year, the Chinese government has aimed to keep the yuan strong instead of weakening it. The Trump team was obviously wrong on this matter.
Many mainstream US media outlets have mocked Trump's U-turns on several important issues. In addition to China's currency, he did not insist that NATO is obsolete, and required Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down. He also believes that the US-Russia relationship is now at a low point.
These changes have made the Trump government further lean toward pro-establishment groups. They look similar to the foreign policy of the Obama administration, which the mainstream US media would like to see. But Trump's "compromise" wasn't viewed favorably by the media. It should be attributed to domestic US politics rather than the US' attitude toward China.
Trump has not been fully accepted by pro-establishment groups. The infighting within the US will continue to make impacts on its diplomacy. This is the cost other countries have to bear when dealing with the US.
Relations between Beijing and the Trump team started low, but have seen an upswing later. Although relations are back on a normal track, uncertainty still lingers.
China and the US have crafted a 100-day plan to address trade imbalances between the two. This is another means by which Washington imposes pressure on China. The US may raise many requirements on China during this period, many of which could be unreasonable.
How the Trump government interacts with other countries will be affected by the personality of the president himself. Washington is breaking people's traditional perception of how it engages with the outside world. Trump and his team are holding tight on their "America first" doctrine, and Americentrism has been rising.
Currently, trade, the Taiwan question and the South China Sea dispute, which were considered as flash points in China-US relations, have come under effective management. Cooperation between the two over the Korean Peninsula is gaining ground. But this is far from saying that the bilateral pattern in the next four years has already been fixed.
China should not be burdened by the progress achieved between the two countries in the past couple of months. Beijing needs to stick to its principles. If it wants to win respect from the Trump team, it should continue actively shaping the bilateral relationship and not let Washington have a unilateral say.