By Li Qingqing (Global Times, 25 October 2018) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is visiting China this week at the invitation of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. This is the first official visit by a Japanese prime minister in seven years. Against the backdrop of the US-initiated trade war, the two countries will discuss cooperation on trade to reduce the uncertainty that US President Donald Trump has brought to Asia.
Since Trump assumed power, Washington has been practicing unilateralism and protectionism. The trade war also seriously impacted the global trade system. To resist US retrogression and further promote globalization, China is building a united diplomatic front with other countries to promote globalization.
Washington has been pressuring the whole world. “Billions of dollars are, and will be, coming into United States coffers because of tariffs… If a country won’t give us a fair trade deal, we will institute tariffs on them,” the capricious US president tweeted on Tuesday.
China has common interests with other countries and thus Beijing’s recent diplomatic efforts have been appreciated by many countries. In order to protect the multilateral trade system, China has reached a consensus with the EU, Russia and Norway in asking the World Trade Organization to investigate the Trump administration’s decision to impose tariffs on metal imports.
In an era of globalization, China needs to pursue multilateral diplomacy and this seems to be especially important in the context of a trade war. As a major country and the second largest economy in the world, China has the responsibility to protect the global system together with the EU, Japan and other countries. Seeking to create more chances and possibilities for the world, Beijing will be more active and flexible in its foreign policy, and will further adhere to reform and opening-up.
Reshaping China-US relations under the Trump administration seems to be a difficult task. China has been strengthening communication and exchanges with the US and trying to resolve disputes through negotiation. But the US still wants to act arbitrarily. Washington should understand that in a global village, all countries are connected. When countries that share a common interest join hands, they win reciprocal cooperation.
As the largest economy in the world, the US has great national strength. Washington should have shouldered the responsibility of further promoting globalization, but the Trump administration’s current action is swimming against the dominant global tide, hurting its allies as well as itself.
The US initiated the trade war and damaged the global trade order, but Beijing is not roping in other countries to fight Washington. What China aims to do is try its best to resist US unilateralism and protectionism to bolster the global multilateral system. After all, it’s not China isolating the US, but the US isolating itself.