The third round of the Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) between U.S. and Chinese officials will take place in Washington beginning May 9. Cabinet secretaries Hillary Clinton and Tim Geithner will host the two days of the S&ED, which provides a forum for talks about strategic and longstanding issues important for U.S.-China relations. Kenneth Lieberthal, who directs the John L. Thornton China Center at Brookings, notes that these meetings are critical for the enhancement of mutual trust, cooperation and understanding between the global powers.
Sentiment inside the Beltway has turned sharply against China. There are many issues where the two parties sound more or less the same. Trump and others in the administration seem heavily invested in a ‘get very tough with China’ stance. It’s possible that some Democrats might argue that a decoupling strategy borders on lunacy. But if Trump believes this will play well with his core constituencies as his reelection campaign moves into high gear, he will probably decide to stick with it, if the costs and the collateral damage seem manageable. But that’s a very big if, especially if the downsides of a protracted trade war for both American consumers and for American firms become increasingly apparent.