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On December 3, US President Donald Trump, who is attending the NATO summit in London, United Kingdom, said that the first phase of the US-China trade negotiations may not be completed until the US election next November. This statement means that the first phase of the China-US agreement that was expected to be completed within this year may continue to be delayed.

However, judging from the development of the negotiations some time ago, the US President ’s statement was more like bargaining, and this “protracted war” between China and the United States has entered a new stage.

China-U.S. Sword fights have eased

Although the trade negotiations between China and the United States may be complicated, the overall situation of China-US relations has been improved for a while, indicating that both sides have a willingness to stabilize the situation.

China’s attitude in trade negotiations and public opinion control have changed. In November, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce’s statement in trade negotiations dominated the public opinion about the China-US trade war. After announcing that the technical consultations on the text of the China-US trade agreement were basically completed, China took the lead to indicate that if China and the United States reached the first phase of the agreement, they should cancel the tariff levy based on the content of the agreement and synchronize. condition.

Both official confirmations of the negotiations have preceded the White House and are key developments in the negotiations. China’s successive “official declarations” on trade negotiations are completely different from the previous cautious and silent attitude.

Although it was not confirmed when and where the first phase of the China-US agreement was signed, small trade deals between the two countries have begun. This has effectively downgraded the tense situation between China and the United States in 2018. Since the last round of formal high-level negotiations between China and the United States, China ’s self-produced raw poultry meat regulatory system is equivalent to the United States. China will also lift a US poultry meat export ban that has been in effect since 2015, approving US chicken meat exports to China, The United States confirms that the Chinese catfish export regulatory system is equivalent to China and the United States will have a positive effect on the future trade between China and the United States.

The contradictions between the two countries in other areas also seem to have eased. In November, the United States extended the export license to Chinese company Huawei again, which also shows that the United States does not want to further stimulate China on issues such as technological competition. U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad once again stated in Chinese official media that he welcomes Chinese students to the United States. US Vice President Mike Pence ’s speech to China also stated that the United States does not want to “decouple” These are all gestures to control the situation.

The trade war escalated rapidly in 2018, and the deterioration of China-US relations has caused many political and business people to endure “a big hit.” Today, both sides continue to release positive signals, indicating that although the outside world should not be overly optimistic about China-US relations, it is not necessary to be left pessimistic. Whether it is the first-stage agreement, the second or third stage, or even the “ultimate agreement” in Trump ’s mouth, it cannot be an indicator of qualitative changes in China-US relations. At least in the view of the Chinese Communist Party, the negotiation process and results are It is only the means to control China-US relations that return the track of China-US relations to normal cooperation is the ultimate appeal.

China focuses on controlling China-US relations

Since the outbreak of the trade war, China has been adjusting and controlling China-US relations. The tension in China-US relations has been alleviated to some extent today, and it is very relevant to the measures China has taken during the several stages of trade negotiations.

The first stage is the constant threats and moves of the United States. Many criticisms of China’s “unfair practices” in trade. The 301 investigation by the Office of the United States Trade Representative targeted China’s “compulsory transfer of intellectual property rights”. Tariff threats are intended to reduce the huge trade deficit between China and the United States. The U.S. Department of Commerce and the Department of Justice have jointly investigated Huawei, a Chinese technology company. During this period, China-U.S. Negotiations repeatedly iterated, the agreement was torn up, and Trump’s order changed, almost making the outside world think that it is impossible to reach an agreement.

In the second stage, China-US negotiations gradually cut different contradictions and issues. As long as it is in his favor, Trump does not care to treat any issue as a bargaining chip in China-US negotiations. For example, the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, the criminal investigation of Huawei in the United States, the smuggling of fentanyl, and the concerns of the United States on Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Xinjiang have all been described by Trump as being eligible for negotiation. Content. However, in the end, these were gradually separated from the process of China-US trade negotiations and did not affect each other. This is the result of China’s rapid cutting of these issues.

In the third stage, China took the initiative to satisfy its own demands. Since the “Shanghai Negotiations” in July this year, China and the United States have deepened their understanding of mutual demands and the bottom line. China has not only constantly reiterated its bottom line, but has also shifted the direction of negotiations to achieve its goals. After the consensus on the China-US negotiations was torn in May last year, China has rarely expressed its position on trade negotiations. Now, China’s initiative to disclose the progress of the negotiations is because the balance of the text of the agreement and the gradual cancellation of tariffs by both parties are China’s demands for negotiations, and China has achieved certain results. The “step-by-step” approach to the China-US agreement is also clearly the CCP’s thinking.

In fact, it was precisely during the previous process of the United States’ continuous asking for prices that China had a thorough understanding of the various demands of the United States on China, and also had a thorough understanding of the White House’s operating style and negotiation strategy in its dealings with the Trump team. Among the many requirements of the United States, some can be recognized by China and are in line with China’s development goals, such as opening markets and increasing procurement of agricultural products. There are also some that cannot be satisfied because they violate the CCP’s bottom line, such as the United States reserves the right to impose punitive tariffs on China. While protecting the bottom line, China has made full use of issues such as agricultural products and energy procurement, and finally “lived up” each deadlock in the negotiations to achieve the goals of the negotiations. Flexible handling of China-US contradictions serves the overall interests of China-US relations.

There are no problems between China and the United States

It can be seen that the CPC’s control of China-US relations has always focused on its own development needs. In the first 20 years of China’s founding, China and the United States were hostile to each other and did not communicate with each other. It was not until the former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s secret visit to China in 1971 that China-US relations began to normalize. Although everyone knows that the United States urgently needs China’s checks and balances in the context of the Cold War, few people noticed that as early as 1964, Mao Zedong, the leader of the Communist Party of China, talked about “someday China-US relations will normalize.” When Edgar Snow visited China, Mao Zedong even bluntly stated that “the two countries always want to establish diplomatic relations.”

Today, Chinese President Xi Jinping also stated that China has “a thousand reasons” to do a good job in China-US relations, and the logic behind it is the same. In the process of China’s development and national rejuvenation, maintaining stable relations with the United States is an important external condition. This is not only true today, it was true 40 years ago, and even 70 years ago.

In analyzing today’s trade war, the history of China-US relations in the past cannot be separated. The idea of ​​controlling China-US relations has been consistent in the history of the Chinese Communist Party since the founding of the Communist Party of China. From the 10-year negotiations of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the United States, the 10-year negotiations of China’s accession to the WTO, and the current trade negotiations, almost every one is out of reach and difficult to complete However, in the end, with the great patience and determination of the CCP, they all took shape step by step. From ancient times to today, it seems that the severe China-U.S. Science and technology hegemony and even military friction may have more influence than the trade war, but even these are not enough to constitute a deadlock that completely destroys China-US relations.

Furthermore, from the “anti-imperialism” at the beginning of the founding of the PRC to the current “anti-protectionism”, China and the United States have always had practical interests and ideological contradictions, but the CCP has never really “anti-American” nor Think of the United States as the “enemy.” In the framework of Xi Jinping’s “community of human destiny”, the United States must also be an important part of this community. Under this kind of thinking, even if the China-US contradictions intensify again, how do you know that the Chinese Communist Party cannot spend 10 years, 20 years or even longer to run into another consensus?

 

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