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Chinese experts split over phase one deal's significance for China-US ties


Source: Global Times    Published: 2019-12-21

Chinese experts on Saturday debated how the phase one trade agreement will impact China-US relations, with some arguing that the deal is too superficial to bring down tensions. Others suggested that the agreement could mean a turn for the better.

There is no winner in a trade war and the biggest take-away from it is that the US has come to realize that nations can peacefully coexist while being different, Wei Jianguo, former Chinese Vice Commerce Minister, said at the Global Times annual conference in Beijing on Saturday.

The US has started to realize that the world has at least two systems, as the US trade representative Robert Lighthizer said that the free economic system of the US is certainly different from the socialist economic system of China, but the two systems should work together, Wei said.

No matter what the purpose of the US is, it shows that the two nations have begun to move from confrontation to dialogue, Wei said. "There is no winner in the China-US phase one trade deal because there is no winner in trade war," he added.

Phase one trade deal is just a "coffee break" and the direction of China-US relations has not come to a turning point, for that to happen, the US needs to change its classification of China as a strategic competitor, Yang Yi, retired rear admiral of the PLA Navy, told the same event.

The biggest challenge in China-US relations is to avoid conflict emerging from miscalculation; China needs to be cool-minded but also refrain from overoptimism because "it's not the end of world," as long as it keeps its strategic resolve, Yang noted.

The next phase of China-US trade talks will only get tougher, as it will come to some basic problems between the two countries. The two countries will strive to cooperate, said He Weiwen, who previously served as a commercial counselor at the Chinese consulates in New York and San Francisco.

"China and US leaders are taking trade as a tool to balance the bilateral relationship. China and the US will continue fighting and negotiating during the trade war. I believe they are wise enough to find a new balance," Ding Jian, managing director and chairman of GSR Ventures, said at the conference.

He Weiwen is a senior fellow of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China. 

Key Words: China-US Relations   trade agreement   RDCY   He Weiwen  

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