By Pranava Pakala
The Sino-US Relations are closely watched by academics, researchers and foreign policy enthusiasts worldwide. After all, the camaraderie of the world’s two greatest economies is sure to garner considerable public attention.
The POTUS Donald Trump has been touring Asia this month. He kicked off his longest ever official foreign visit in Japan. China, South Korea, Philippines and Vietnam are next up in his list of destinations. The main aim of his visit is to “promote free trade in the Indo- Pacific Region”.
What’s cooking between China and the US?
The one aspect of this visit that has kept everyone interested is Trump’s meeting with Xi Jimping. Quite unexpectedly, Trump had incessantly lavished praise on China during this visit. Jimping did reciprocate Trump’s kind words but he was quite restrained in his approach. “You are a very special man,” said Trump to Xi. These words reflect a huge detour from the conventional diplomatic ways of communication.
Why this change in the United States’ attitude towards China is important is because Trump vociferously spoke out against China’s ways during his Presidential Campaign. He was extremely vocal about his discontentment with China and even accused it of “raping” the US economy. In stark contrast to his previous accusations, Trump blamed the former US administrators for bad trade between the two countries. In the usual Trump demeanour, he was incredibly overwhelming and profusely thanked Xi for the grand reception.
Trump’s foreign policy failure?
The highlights of the Asia trip were trade and North Korea. Trump blatantly blamed the US for the static trade in the recent years. Throughout history, the US and China have had fairly peaceful relations, the flashpoint being the nuclear disarmament in North Korea. There has been an ongoing war of words between North Korea and the US, where the former’s leader has called Trump “a lunatic old man”. Trump has publicly asked all nations to boycott North Korea calling it the greatest threat to humanity.
Analysts deem this visit to be an important one. Trump’s diplomatic overtures have been very notorious and many academics call it “a failure in foreign policy”. He is known to always deviate from convention and it was no different this time. Trump is desperately trying for China to wield influence with regards to the nuclear weapons situation in North Korea, and his words are enough evidence. It is believed to be the first time in international politics where a world leader has made such kind of diplomatic overtures.
A Trump-Xi friendship?
This can be considered a fresh genuine attempt by a US leader to have friendly ties with China, while not compromising on their stance. Even though many analysts cited Trump’s election and ascension as causes for potential trade conflict between both the countries, among others, he has successfully managed to banish that theory. At least, until now.
We might not get to see significant policy changes in the Trump- Xi Era but the growing camaraderie is pretty interesting to see. Will Trump succeed in his broader aim of getting the international community’s support in boycotting North Korea? Only time will tell.