The year of 2019 finally arrives. It will be a fair year for countries which are willing and able to collectively address challenges.
Various predictions of worldwide uncertainty in 2019 have been made by several institutions, from US domestic affairs, the Indian general election, a possible geopolitical crisis, to global stock market volatility, with all eyes on the US-China trade war. Whether the two nations will reach an agreement as scheduled is the biggest uncertainty.
After an unusual 2018, some foreign media outlets claim that for China, this year depends entirely on whether a comprehensive trade agreement can be made with the US. But does this analysis have any basis in reality?
This year, China will face significant internal and external challenges. China-US relations and the endorsement of a bilateral trade agreement are a top priority. Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Donald Trump exchanged congratulations on Tuesday on the 40th anniversary of the establishment of China-US diplomatic relations, showing further positive signs after their phone call a couple of days ago. The ground for resolving the dispute is now the most fertile it has been since the escalation of China-US trade friction.
On the other hand, certain major uncertainties in China-US ties persist. Will the trade agreement, if reached, signify absolute stabilization of China-US economic cooperation? Even if China-US trade is relatively stable, will US technological restrictions on China be expanded? Will Washington continue to exert geopolitical pressures on Beijing?
The complexity of China-US ties transcends any of the relations between great powers seen throughout human history. The most effective tool of communication should be diplomacy. In order to have a long-lasting influence on relations, China must manage its own affairs better.
China must remain dedicated to reform and opening-up and speed up the modernization of its national governance system and capabilities. Once Beijing and Washington come to an agreement, China needs to be more open to meet the renewed conditions.
People are anxious at the event that the two countries do not reach an agreement within 90 days, but they must not overlook that possibility, where China would have no choice but to strive for development by exploring internal driving forces and effectively render any pressure from the US irrelevant.
The Chinese people must be aware that the country has already bid farewell to the era when Beijing’s decisions were defined by the whims of international pressure.
To what extent Beijing makes the necessary adjustments will be the first factor to showing whether China will maintain a steady path.
In other words, China should constantly implement the reform and opening-up decisions made after the Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee held in 2013, regardless of external pressure.
In the face of a sudden escalation of the China-US trade conflict throughout 2018, Beijing chose neither a concession nor a confrontation. The country has continued advancing and establishing its position as the world’s second largest economy, maximizing its vitality and cooperation. Undoubtedly, that is China’s lifeline to steady progress in an increasingly restless world.