A Strategy and Its Implications

Advanced economy permissiveness with China was never a given. It was contingent on China reforming and opening up to foreign competition. In the US there are today people who think China never fulfilled the promise of reform, and that letting them into the WTO in 2001 was naïve and incorrect. There is another camp arguing that China was reforming but has backtracked. There is better evidence for the latter view. This is the position which the Trump Administration is taking, as detailed by Vice President Pence on October 4. This is crucial. If the Chinese Communist Party never tried to reform in the past, it is hard to imagine they will in the future. If you do accept that Beijing was trying to reform then it is possible to return to that view, and some constructive patience is a wise approach.

Posted October 19, 2018
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