(MENAFN- Asia Times) During the May 2023 G7 summit in Hiroshima, US President Joe Biden
ties with Beijing would“thaw very shortly.” Four months later, the United States and China have taken important first steps to put the balloon incident behind them and
stabilize their rocky relationship .
Lines of communication
have been re-opened , assurances exchanged, working groups formed and incremental forward progress recorded. Progress was made even in areas
such as export controls
where the two sides had previously clashed.
The lack of engagement on their reciprocal tariff hikes and on senior-level defense exchanges remain the key areas where dialogue continues to lag.
But even on this latter front, a provisional workaround featuring the Pentagon's top Asia officials and senior Chinese Foreign Ministry officials has been arranged
The proposed meeting between Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the November 2023 APEC summit in San Francisco provides a“window of opportunity” to lock down useful deliverables.
Washington should remove the Chinese Ministry of Public Security's Institute of Forensic Science from its Entity List (a US trade restriction list) in exchange for a crackdown on online vendors of fentanyl precursors by Beijing.
The two sides should also amend, update and formally renew their umbrella science and technology agreement - the first agreement to be signed post-normalization in 1979.
It remains to be seen if the envisaged“guardrails” can survive US election year polemics. But a greater challenge to devising a viable strategic framework for US-China relations is the gap between the two countries' rival approaches and their perception of the role of neighboring countries.
The Biden administration's China strategy has centered on building“situations of strength” with a“latticework of alliances and partnerships” to dictate the terms of competition to China.
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