ARE China and America preparing some sort of grand deal, to put their relationship on a new footing? Rex Tillerson appeared to hint at this during his first visit to Beijing as America’s secretary of state on March 18th and 19th. Whether such a deal is really possible is a different matter.
Before the visit, the State Department’s acting head of Asian affairs said the new administration had not devised a term encapsulating American policy towards Asia, but she suggested it may no longer be called a “pivot”. In an interview during his trip, Mr Tillerson said China and America were at “somewhat of a historic moment” in their relationship. He said they needed to have a “fresh conversation” about what would define it for the next 50 years.
Perhaps most tellingly, at a news conference with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, Mr Tillerson talked about basing the relationship on “non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect [and] win-win co-operation.” This is a Chinese formulation. Under Barack Obama, the Americans refused to adopt it because China uses the term “mutual respect” to imply that others should respect its…Continue reading