Interview: Expert says positive signs observed in Trump administration's China policies

Source: Xinhua| 2017-04-28 13:24:41|Editor: An
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BOSTON, April 27 (Xinhua) -- As U.S. President Donald Trump is about to hit his one hundredth day in office, changes observed suggest that his administration has adopted a more sensible approach in dealing with China, a leading U.S. economist told Xinhua here.

Citing a recent probe on imported steel ordered by Trump, Richard Cooper, an international economics professor at Harvard University and former chairman of National Intelligence Council and under-secretary of state, said the move showed that "instead of acting before studying, he's now indicated that maybe we need a study before acting."

Last week, Trump called for the initiation of a trade probe on steel imports on national security grounds. He has signed a memo directing his administration to expedite an investigation into whether steel imports are jeopardizing U.S. national security.

"I take that as a positive sign starting at a very unfavorable position, but it's not over yet until we see the results of these studies and what he actually does," Cooper said.

The meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Trump at Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida earlier this month also created a favorable condition for bilateral relations, according to him.

"The visit of President Xi was very positive...he (Trump) had not acted on the currency manipulation, he's backed away from that sensibly, in my view," Cooper said.

Trump "still has the big trade deficit in mind, but they've allowed themselves a hundred days to sort of work something out, I take that as a positive sign," he said.

Environmental protection is something that needs China and the United States to work closely together, Cooper said.

"If China and the United States reached a deal on environmental protection, we can roll it out to others," he said.

As for China's role in the world, the veteran diplomat praised China's initiative of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which he thought was a "fine idea."

The AIIB was established in 2015 and started operation in January 2016 to provide financing for infrastructure improvement in Asia. Its membership has increased to 70, with 13 new members approved in March.

"I was involved in the creating of the Asian Development Bank and I thought the AIIB was actually a fine idea and can contribute," he said.

"I don't worry about competition with the World Bank for two reasons. One, there's lots of room to spend money around the world constructively, and secondly, a little competition is not a bad thing," Cooper said.

In fact, World Bank and the AIIB signed a memorandum of understanding on Sunday to strengthen cooperation between them. Under the MOU, both sides agreed to cooperate in areas, including development financing, staff exchanges, and analytical and sector work.

World Bank and the AIIB are discussing more projects to be co-financed in 2017 and 2018, the World Bank said on Sunday.

Touching on the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by China in 2013, Cooper said he does "not object to it," but looks forward to a more detailed plan to be spelled out by the Chinese government.

The Belt and Road Initiative consists of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road. It aims to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along and beyond the ancient Silk Road trade routes.

China is still "in the process of defining with some specificity" the content of the initiative, Cooper said.