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Is there a new start for Sino-US relations?




Flags of the United States and China. / Getty

Flags of the United States and China. / Getty

Editor’s Note: William Jones is a political analyst in Washington and a non-resident member of the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies. The article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of CGTN.

The September 10 phone call between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping was an important meeting that has the potential to set in motion a new direction in the deterioration of US-China relations.

The appeal was made by the US side after several meetings between the two sides at lower levels, which generally created little momentum to move the relationship forward.

The Biden administration appeared to have believed it could effectively “compartmentalize” the various areas that make up US-China relations, hoping to strike a deal on climate change and tackle COVID-19 while fiercely lambasting China for everything from human rights. , technology theft and the alleged cover-up of the origins of COVID-19.

In the ordinary circumstances of diplomacy, it is useful and often necessary to distinguish the different aspects of a relationship between countries. But to think that you will find a friendly response from your counterpart on a particular issue when you maintain absolutely visceral, and even downright deceptive, propaganda on other issues is somewhat illusory.

Given the intensity of the anti-China mood in the US body politic, inflamed by the Trump administration’s anti-China measures, which have been largely kept intact, and in some cases exacerbated, by the administration Biden, it won’t be easy to get the relationship back on track. But the September 10 phone call could be a start.

This is the second major phone call President Biden has had with President Xi since taking office. And these two phone calls, without by any means avoiding the most controversial issues, reiterated the willingness of both sides to maintain a stable relationship between the United States and China, with both sides stressing the importance of the relationship for the United States. world as a whole.

The calls between the two presidents have been the most fruitful discussions the United States has had with China since the start of the Biden administration. And it should now be clear that it is only at this highest level that the necessary changes can be made, which would facilitate a positive working environment for all other areas of this important country-to-country relationship.

The container ship ZIM Integrated Shipping Services Ltd. Chicago departs the Yangshan deepwater port in Shanghai, east China, March 23, 2020. / Getty

The container ship ZIM Integrated Shipping Services Ltd. Chicago departs the Yangshan deepwater port in Shanghai, east China, March 23, 2020. / Getty

The two presidents agreed to work together to improve the relationship. President Xi added that the two sides could even tap into more potential cooperation to inject more positive momentum into the relationship, a statement President Biden appeared to agree with.

And indeed, there are many more areas where the two will need to cooperate to move forward. One of the most urgent of these areas clearly appears to be Afghanistan. While the United States has withdrawn its troops from the country and maintains no diplomatic representation in the country, China has made clear its intention to work with a Taliban who has rejected terrorism and is working for an inclusive government, which the states -United would also be in favor. And the Taliban have expressed their willingness to cooperate with China.

China’s relationship with the Taliban could therefore be of vital importance in helping to shape the path the Taliban will take to revive this country, eradicate terrorism, combat drug trafficking and create an inclusive government, and an inclusive government. a path that would be consistent with the United States. national interest.

China has also been a victim of terrorism, and Mike Pompeo’s senseless US decision to remove Uighur extremist group ETIM from the terrorist list was a major mistake, which should be overturned by the Biden administration in order to help things to do The United States and China are taking the fight against terrorism one step further, as they did after September 11.

The United States should also support the idea of ​​making this new Taliban government a working option under the terms set out, and release some of the Afghan government funds that are now in escrow.

President Biden could also take steps to lift some of the Trump-era trade sanctions against China, most of which have nothing to do with national security. It could also once again provide a welcome mat for Chinese students who still want to study in the United States and alleviate some of the petty harassment experienced by young Chinese students who have served in the military or have been associated with institutions with party ties, or are simply members of the Chinese Communist Party.

More could be done if the two presidents actually had the opportunity to sit down and talk face to face. An opportunity for this is emerging at the next G20 meeting. Hopefully this can be an opportunity to further clarify the way forward for this all-too-crucial relationship.

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