Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke on the phone with US President Donald Trump at the latter’s invitation on Thursday. The messages revealed by both sides about their conversation were very positive. The phone conversation provides hope that the China-US relations may take a positive turn.
We noticed that China and the US have been positively interacting in recent days, a result of joint efforts. It also shows that the mechanism of dialogue and negotiations is still viable and both sides are still willing to resolve issues through this mechanism. And it also shows the resilience of China-US relations. During the phone call, Trump also voiced his support for the China International Import Expo (CIIE) to be held next week in Shanghai.
For quite some time, the US has continued to put pressure on China, with its key politicians railing against China on various occasions. China has shown calm, restraint and resolve in the face of US pressure. The international community has been concerned that forthcoming talks between the two sides may not arrive at a consensus. It should be noted that China and the US are still in the process of trying to engage each other in talks, in which there is a possibility that offensives may escalate and it is also likely that conflicts may subdue.
We noticed that high-level US officials have issued various statements about China and their rhetoric is akin to a carrot on the stick. We feel that the US is quite anxious and hopes to cut a deal with China as soon as possible.
Given that the US political environment is different from China’s, some officials in Washington are still ramping up groundless charges against China. The Chinese side understands the political considerations behind the rhetoric. But if these officials aim to gain the upper hand in talks with China through these tactics and seek political mileage by increasing pressure on China, they are clearly mistaken.
A case in point is how US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused China of stealing US intellectual property in a radio interview on Wednesday. He said this was something “to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars” and “not consistent with being a superpower or a world leader,” and the US was engaged in a “multi-pronged effort … to convince China to behave like a normal nation on commerce.”
While figures in a news report have to be carefully verified before being published, the US secretary of state made a careless accusation. Can he be more serious about the data?
China paid $28.6 billion to use foreign intellectual property (IP) in 2017, of which the IP payment to the US grew by 14 percent on a year-to-year basis. Will any IP theft make such massive payments?
China has generally kept a low profile since the US launched the trade war, which has made some Americans think that more pressure will force China to make concessions. If this view dominates Washington’s stance on negotiating with Beijing, it may make negotiations more difficult. China doesn’t want to escalate bilateral conflicts, but it will stand by its principles at any cost, which the US had better not misjudge.
It’s impossible if the US wants to end up being the only winner in de-escalating or ending the trade war. The Chinese people hope to see the trade war come to an end, but they are mentally prepared for prolonged tensions. We expect to see Washington show its sincerity.