China-US relations likely to improve, experts say

A 2013 file photo of Chinese President Xi Jinping (right) with Biden. As vice president before, the new president has witnessed the ups and downs of the China-US relationship over the past few decades. — AP

THE China-US relationship is likely to start a new chapter marked by more stability now that Joe Biden has entered the White House, as the new US President seems more pragmatic and advocates cooperation, analysts say.

Biden, 78, took the oath of office on Wednesday as the 46th president of the United States, with three former US presidents – but not his predecessor, Donald Trump – attending the ceremony. Trump, in a farewell speech on Wednesday, touted his legacy and wished the next administration good luck without mentioning Biden.

The transition of power, and signals sent out recently by Biden and his team, have analysts saying there’s reason for hope that positive changes will occur in the China-US relationship.

Xu Liping, a researcher at the National Institute of International Strategy of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, says that Trump pushed the China-US relationship into a lose-lose situation. Even in the last month of his term, he issued radical policies targeting China that are not even in line with the overall interests of the US.

“Biden is likely to correct these policies, pushing bilateral ties in a more rational direction, ” says Xu. “While competition will continue to exist between the two countries, cooperation will also be needed in a wide range of sectors, including trade and climate change.”

Xu says that the Biden administration should restore communication channels with China, resume negotiations over bilateral economic and trade issues, reduce conflicts, and strengthen cooperation in dealing with global issues.

Diao Daming, an associate professor of international relations at Renmin University of China, says that as an experienced politician, Biden – who was vice president during Barack Obama’s two terms, from 2009 to 2017 – has witnessed the ups and downs of the China-US relationship over the past few decades.

“Biden’s overall attitude toward China has been pragmatic and rational, which means cooperation in areas with mutual benefits, such as people-to-people exchanges and trade cooperation, are likely to recover.”

However, Diao says the US faces difficulties domestically that have pushed the government to readjust its views toward the outside world and its diplomatic policies, which will not be easy to change, even after the transition of power.

“There may not be substantial changes in Sino-US relations soon, but we can still expect them to be more stable, constructive and dialogue-oriented, ” he says.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying says that China always believes that a sound China-US relationship serves the fundamental interests of the two peoples and is also the common aspiration of the international community. Despite differences, China and the United States share broad common interests and room for cooperation, and they shoulder special responsibilities for world peace and development.

She says she hopes that the new US administration will work with China to step up dialogue, manage differences, expand cooperation and bring China-US relations back on the right track as soon as possible. – China Daily/Asia News Network

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