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Trump’s visit to China to yield significant outcomes: Experts

By Kou Jie (People's Daily Online)    17:13, November 02, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump’s first state visit to China is an historic opportunity to boost cooperation between the world’s two largest economies, and a chance to tackle the problems that dampen bilateral ties, said experts.

“The state visit comes at a time when the two nations’ relationship is solid and stable. Despite Trump’s unpredictable China policies and some possible conflicts on the trade and economic front, the future of the relationship is bright, as stable bilateral ties are crucial for their development,” Lu Jinyong, a professor at Foreign Trade University, told People’s Daily Online during a conference held by the Center for China & Globalization (CCG), a leading think tank in China, on Thursday.

Lu’s remarks come ahead of Trump’s Nov. 8-9 visit to China, which many experts believe will mainly focus on security issues and energy cooperation, as well as seeking approaches to reduce friction on the trade imbalance and intellectual property rights.

According to Xinhua News Agency, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Trump will also exchange in-depth views on China-U.S. relations, as well as major global and regional issues of common concern.

Major concern in trade and security issues

“Competition between China and U.S. in the security sphere is getting fiercer. U.S. authorities are worried about China’s fast development in this sphere, as the latter’s military force is now experiencing major changes regarding strategic guiding thoughts and military technologies,” said Teng Jianqun, director of the Department of U.S Studies at the China Institute of International Studies.

Chinese President Xi Jinping in October called for fully transforming the people’s armed forces into a world-class military by the mid-21st century, adding that by the year 2020, mechanization will be basically achieved, and the modernization of national defense and the armed forces should be basically completed by 2035.

Experts predict that during his visit, President Trump will reiterate the U.S. stance on major security issues, including the Korean Peninsula crisis, even though it is unlikely that he could coax China to reach a full consensus.

“With little knowledge of China and much of his foreign policy regarding the Asian Pacific region not in place some 10 months into his presidency, Trump is unlikely to make a breakthrough with his Chinese counterparts in the security sphere, a major area of competition for the two nations now,” noted Teng.

In addition to security, the two nations’ trade and economic cooperation will also become a crucial topic during Trump’s visit, added the experts.

“Based on my calculation, China’s GDP will be double that of U.S. by the end of 2050, at which point China will have become a modern socialist country, according to its Two Centenaries Plan. Trump may hold talks with Xi on the development of trade ties in the next 30 years,” said Cui Fan, a professor of international trade at the University of International Business and Economics.

According to Cui, competitive industries of China and U.S. will overlap more in the future, leading to even fiercer trade competitions between the two nations, while cooperation and contest in technology, talent, and capital will rise as new major concerns for bilateral economic ties.

Lv Xiang, a research fellow at the Institute of World Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, noted that Trump’s visit will attach great importance to energy cooperation.

“Around 40 companies will follow Trump to visit China, 10 of which are energy enterprises like Cheniere Energy, the only company sending America’s shale gas overseas. I think the two nations will surely discuss the possibility of building a port on the U.S. west coast to export natural gas, boosting bilateral cooperation in energy,” said Lv.

Possible solutions

Though several conflicts and problems hindering bilateral ties remain, experts believe that deepened mutual trust and profound cooperation will benefit both nations in the long run.

“Bilateral cooperation in infrastructure will provide great opportunities for both nations. Trump has rolled out plans to upgrade America’s infrastructure, but his $1 trillion plan is as elusive as ever. On the other hand, China has spent $11 trillion on infrastructure in the past decade, accumulating rich experience in building high speed rails, roads, and energy plants and proving itself to be a strong partner,” said Wang Huiyao, director of CCG.

Meanwhile, the U.S. can also help China’s Belt and Road initiative, as the former has rich experience in economic cooperation with countries along the Belt and Road.

“It would be a win-win solution for both nations if the U.S. is willing to participate in the Belt and Road initiative and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank,” added Wang.

In terms of boosting the stability and development of the region, experts believe that promoting a Free Trade Area of the Asian Pacific (FTAAP) with both the U.S. and China’s participation can alleviate their conflicts in the region, seeking more mutual benefits.

“Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership has been denounced by many American leaders and other member nations, while the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership which involved China has yet to make any remarkable economic achievements. A FTAAP with both China and the U.S. may solve the current problems, but it would require hard work and mutual trust from both sides.”

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Kou Jie, Bianji)

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