It will take two dreamers, without outside-the-box thinking, to make breakthroughs in the US-China relationship, writes Dr Yawei Liu.

In his recent article for The Diplomat, Dr. Yawei Liu, director of the Carter Center China Program, identifies five areas in order of increasing difficulty that Presidents Xi and Trump could feasibly announce progress and cooperation on during their upcoming meeting in Mar-a-Lago, Florida.

Firstly, and most easily, Trump and Xi can coordinate their efforts to address development, peace, and other global challenges. Given their existing cooperation in areas such as climate change, peacekeeping in South Sudan, and cybersecurity, this should not be too difficult to find agreement on.

Secondly, Liu identifies the South China Sea issue as a potential area for progress. Acknowledging that this may seem surprising, he maintains that if both leaders are sincere about seeking common ground and proceed to halt any provocative actions, progress can be achieved.

Thirdly, though there are disagreements on trade, there are nonetheless numerous areas ripe for cooperation, including the ongoing negotiations for the bilateral investment treaty, and the use of Chinese investment for US infrastructure renewal.

Fourthly, and Liu notes consensus here will be more difficult, is resolving the problem of North Korea. He asserts that both the US and Chinese criticisms of the other are unjustified, and that any discussion on the issue must consider what it would take for the US and DPRK to begin direct negotiations.

Finally, Taiwan. Though each country faces obstacles in ameliorating the relationship, there are steps that each can take. The US, for example, could reduce or stop selling arms to Taiwan, and China, for its part, could stop deploying missiles aimed at Taiwan.

These areas are only realistic if both Xi and Trump can be bold and assertive in imagination and execution, but “both Trump and Xi are very well-qualified dreamers who are determined to improve the lives of the people they lead and make their nations great again”.

The full article can be found here on The Diplomat website.

Feature image credit: AP Photo/Files via The Washington Times