“President Xi, I want to thank you again for expanding your commitment to cooperation between our nations. I believe that it’s another reminder that as we work to narrow our differences, we can continue to advance our mutual interests for the benefit not only of our two peoples, but for the benefit of the world.”
So said then-president Barack Obama in 2015. Obama’s presidency, during which the United States was supposed to “pivot to Asia” in part to help allies challenge China’s territorial claims, was nevertheless marked by a willingness to make US-China relations work.
President Donald Trump took a different rhetorical stance, insisting that China had taken advantage of the United States. But despite the tough talk, Trump’s first term could hardly be considered that of a China hawk.