China’s optimism

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ACCORDING to reports in the international media, Chinese leaders hope Washington will tone down conflicts over trade, technology and security if Joe Biden wins the November 3 presidential election. US-Chinese relations have plunged to their lowest level in decades during the Trump era amid an array of conflicts over the coronavirus pandemic, technology, trade, security and spying.
A cursory glance at the history of China-US relations would show that President Trump unnecessarily triggered controversies on different issues harming global trade and even America’s own interests. China faced discriminatory US policies during the Trump Administration despite the fact that Beijing favoured Trump over former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton hoping that the business background of Trump would be helpful in removing irritants in economic ties. Trump not only initiated a tariff war with China but also tried to consolidate business relations with Southeast Asian countries with which Beijing has some sort of territorial disputes. The White House has lobbied allies to exclude Huawei, China’s first global tech brand, from next-generation telecom networks on security grounds. Huawei’s access to American components and technology was cut off, threatening to cripple its global sales. Trump is also trying to bar Chinese social media companies from the United States, citing fears they might gather too much personal information about Americans. The White House is pressing video service TikTok to sell its US operation and is trying to block companies from dealing with WeChat, the popular Chinese message service. Under these circumstances, Chinese leaders are justified in expressing optimism about a positive change in policies in case of the electoral win of Joe Biden. Things might not change as per expectations of Beijing due to deeper malice in Washington against China but the optimism is yet another reflection of the well-considered policy of China to avoid conflicts and building bridges of understanding and cooperation, a pre-requisite for regional and global peace and security.

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