Global Times - 01.08.2019

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EDITORIAL


14


Thursday August 1, 2019


Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

By Li Qingqing

The 52nd Association of Southeast
Asian Nations (ASEAN) foreign
ministers meeting is being held in
Bangkok, Thailand from Monday to
Saturday. US Secretary of State Mike
Pompeo will attend a series of related
meetings, including the ASEAN Re-
gional Forum, and is scheduled to co-
chair the US-ASEAN Ministerial.
“The United States is back,” said
former US secretary of state Hillary
Clinton during her trip to Thailand
in 2009. Since then, every time high
ranking US offi cials visit Southeast
Asia, they seem to have a clear target


  • China. As the US adjusts its China
    policy and adopts more containment
    policies, it can be predicted that Pom-
    peo will not let China off easily as
    well.
    However, the US can never rope in
    Southeast Asian countries by launch-
    ing a trade war with China. Instead,
    the more Washington tries to rope in
    ASEAN members to oppose China,
    the more they will move closer to
    China. The reason is simple: The US
    cannot provide ASEAN with what the
    intergovernmental organization re-
    ally needs.
    What ASEAN members need the
    most is peaceful development and


prosperity. But just look at what Wash-
ington has been doing in ASEAN: On
one hand, the US keeps reaffi rming
its so-called commitment to ASEAN;
on the other, it has been forcing ASE-
AN members to pick sides between
China and the US and claims ASE-
AN members would benefi t from the
China-US trade war. The US verbally
defends ASEAN’s interests, but its ac-
tions benefi t only itself.
ASEAN has been moving toward
a prosperous future by cooperating
with China.
The rapid change in relations be-
tween China and ASEAN has far ex-
ceeded the Americans’ expectations.
China’s State Council Information
Offi ce on Wednesday said China has
surpassed the US to become the larg-
est trading partner of ASEAN, and
ASEAN has become China’s second-
largest trading partner. The two sides
have set up a good model of coopera-
tion.
The China-proposed Belt and
Road Initiative (BRI) has also been
operating well among ASEAN mem-
bers, bringing convenience to the re-
gion’s connectivity and infrastructure

construction. As the US promotes
trade protectionism and unilateral-
ism, some Chinese enterprises’ in-
vestment in ASEAN has boosted its
members’ economic development
and strengthened people-to-people
exchanges.
However, China understands that
ASEAN is in a diffi cult situation. As
Singaporean Prime Minister Lee
Hsien Loong said at the 33rd ASEAN
summit in November 2018, “Time
may come when ASEAN may have to
choose one or the other [China or the
US]. I am hoping that it’s not coming
soon.”
China understands that it is un-
realistic for ASEAN to completely
stand against the largest economy in
the world, and China will never force
ASEAN members to choose between
Beijing and Washington. This is a co-
operative and pragmatic solution.
ASEAN members surely know
what is good for them. We believe
that eff ective communication and
mutually benefi cial cooperation, in-
stead of the hollow promises that the
US used to coax ASEAN members, is
the best way for regional prosperity.

Voices


“Ireland isn’t going to be


bullied on this issue and as a


government and as a country,


I think we are going to stick


by our position.”


Leo Varadkar, Irish prime minister,
saying in an interview with the Irish Daily Mirror
newspaper that Ireland is not going to be bullied in talks
over Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union,
quoted by Reuters on Wednesday.


“This Friday will mark the


offi cial end of the INF treaty


when the United States


withdraws.”


John Bolton, US national security adviser,
confi rming that Washington will withdraw from the 1987
Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty on
August 2, quoted by Sputnik on Wednesday.


Eff ective communication, cooperation best for ASEAN


O


BSERVER


Page Editor:
yanyunming@globaltimes.com.cn

China, US restart to untangle trade deadlock


T


he 12th round of China-US high-
level trade consultations ended
in Shanghai Wednesday. Ac-
cording to the Chinese side, the two
countries conducted “candid, effi cient,
constructive and in-depth” exchanges.
They also discussed the increase in pur-
chases of US farm products based on
China’s domestic demand, and the US
agreed to create favorable conditions
for it. The next round of talks will be
held in Washington in September. But
Global Times has learned that the two
sides will hold intensive working-level
consultations in August.
This was the fi rst face-to-face high-
level trade talks between China and the
US in the past three months. Judging
from China’s briefi ng, the new begin-
ning was good.
The US has been highly concerned
about China’s purchase of its farm
products, and the talks have responded
to US concerns. But China also stressed

that the procurement should be carried
out according to China’s demand. The
amount of China’s purchase should be
realistic and this is also one of China’s
core concerns.
What can the US do to create favor-
able conditions for the purchase?
The Chinese market needs US ag-
ricultural products. China’s decision
to suspend purchases was a response
to the US’ maximum pressure policy
against China. China announced over
a week ago that it would resume the
purchase, which was widely viewed as
goodwill to the US before the nego-
tiations. But if the US wants to turn
China’s goodwill into normal trade, it
should meet China halfway and form
a benign interaction with China until
they reach a deal.
After launching the trade war against
China, the US has been using maxi-
mum pressure on China as its strategy.
It should remove or relieve such pres-

sure to reciprocate China’s purchase
of American agricultural products. A
better condition will thus be provided
for China to continue the purchase and
make it a bond for cooperation instead
of a focus of confrontation.
The 13th round of trade talks will be
held in Washington in over a month.
Before that, China and the US should
show more goodwill to each other, ac-
cumulate mutual trust for the upcom-
ing consultations, and cut down fric-
tions that could lead to distrust.
Various problems between China
and the US have been fermenting in the
past year or two, and mutual resistance
has been increasing. But rational views
which insist on stable bilateral relations
have also been increasingly prominent
and fi rm. At this point, the two govern-
ments have a larger space for adjusting
their relations. They hold the initiative
to lead public opinion in their countries
in terms of the trade war.

Both Washington and Beijing have
shown fl exibility to ease trade confl icts.
The mutual goodwill has gained sup-
port from the two societies. Dissenting
and supportive voices inside the US are
sharp, but it is obvious that the latter is
more powerful and backed by real in-
terests.
Going through trade confl icts and
contests, China and the US have al-
ready sounded out each other’s endur-
ance and bottom line. If both sides have
the sincerity to end the trade war in a
reasonable manner, a window phase
worth exploiting will arise in the near
future. The two sides can certainly fi ght
a longer battle, but that will cause more
economic losses and greater political
risks.
The 12th round of China-US trade
talks is a good new start. It is defi nitely
a politically sensible choice for both
sides to follow the positive clues they
have created.

Scary future

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