Brent Scowcroft Center Resident Senior Fellow Robert A. Manning writes for the Global Times on how despite serious differences, the United States and China still have room to work together:
As Chinese President Xi Jinping’s upcoming state visit to the US approaches, US-China relations are rife with tension. A war of words over the South China Sea seems to be drowning out the many other important elements of a complex Sino-American relationship.
Judging by the flood of articles and think-tank reports in the United States, there is growing doubt about the validity of core assumptions guiding what has been a bipartisan US policy toward China under eight US presidents, from Richard Nixon to Barack Obama.
So how do we find a new equilibrium for what has become the world’s most important diplomatic relationship? That is the challenge for Xi’s September visit. First, building on common ground is imperative. The bilateral economic relationship, some $600 billion in two-way trade in 2014, is a pillar of US-China ties. A new understanding on regional trade arrangements is one means of broadening the relationship. Obama should explicitly invite China to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) whenever Beijing is ready. There should be a Sino-US effort to begin a process of converging the TPP and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership into a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific, as APEC has sought, by 2030.