Sunday, December 30, 2018

Phone Call Between Xi and Trump Conveys Positive Signs
Global Times
2018/12/30 7:10:04

Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump on Saturday held a telephone conversation. The two leaders attach great importance to the development of bilateral relations, and said that the working teams of the two countries are actively promoting the implementation of the consensus reached during their meeting in Argentina earlier this month. Both Xi and Trump expressed their willingness to reach an agreement through the talks, according to Xinhua.

Trump tweeted Sunday morning that he had a "long and very good call," with Chinese President Xi Jinping, conveying a positive tone about the talk. Trump also said that "big progress" is being made and "Deal is moving along very well."

This is good news for sure. It can be seen as a New Year's gift from the two leaders to the people of the two countries and the world.

President Xi and President Trump reached important consensus in Argentina on Dec 1, and teams from both countries have since been actively working to implement such consensus. Both parties have accelerated the tempo of mutual communication. Moreover, China has announced that it will stop imposing additional tariffs on US autos and auto parts for three months and resumed purchasing agricultural products from the US. The US has also announced it will postpone putting extra tariffs on Chinese products. This shows that the possibility of the two countries reaching an agreement is improving.

However, the US government did not restrain itself from making negative remarks, which were not conducive to the ongoing negotiations between the two countries after the meeting in Argentina. Those remarks also confused world opinions. In fact, the US has a stained reputation at keeping its word in trade talks with China. In the past, the US has repeatedly made negative comments when positive progress was about to be made in Sino-US trade talks. Given that record, it is still unknown if Washington will stick to Trump's cheerful messages and commit to reaching a win-win agreement with China on time.

It is not clear whether the US is positioning China as a strategic competitor or a fair trade partner. Nor is it clear if mixed messages from the US during previous negotiations were due to their poor communication or an anti-China strategy. In fact, not only China, but also many American allies are puzzled by the unprecedented uncertainty from Washington.

It is worth noting that the trade agreement will not only ease the yearlong tensions between China and the US, but also will serve American national interests and Trump's own political interests in winning re-election. It is time for the US government to realize that the negotiations with China should be based on reality. China will not accept any terms which are counter to the general direction of China's reform and opening up, or that impair China's national interests.

The phone conversation between President Xi and President Trump, including the tone of Trump's subsequent tweet, fits the logic in terms of the general direction for developing Sino-US relations. And this talk will definitely play a positive role in boosting confidence in Sino-US negotiations. It is sincerely hoped that the power of logic is stronger than that of uncertainty.

It is better for Chinese people to trust the government with the trade talks because it will surely do its due diligence and endeavor to get the best results. Also, Chinese people need to be patient over progress in the Sino-US trade talks as that is one of the significant hallmarks of citizens of a rising power like China.

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