11/08/2019, 13.40
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Chinese economist says it is better for China that Trump be re-elected

by Wang Zhicheng

Such a claim comes from Long Yongtu, 76, a former deputy minister for foreign trade, and a major player in China's entry into the WTO. In his view, “Trump talks about material interests, not politics,” so that for China, “Such an opponent is the best choice for negotiations.” AsiaNews begs to disagree. As Obama’s secretary of state, Hillary Clinton too preferred “material interests” over human rights.

Shenzhen (AsiaNews) – “We want Trump to be re-elected; we would be glad to see that happen,” is something that US Republicans might say. In this case, those words belong to Long Yongtu, a Chinese economist who once was a top Chinese government official.

Speaking yesterday at the Credit Suisse’s China Investments Conference in Shenzhen, Long, a former deputy minister of foreign trade and China’s point man steering the country into the World Trade Organisation, candidly and openly voiced what many other Chinese leaders believe, namely that Trump is “the best choice in an opponent for negotiations” because he is “easy to read” and figure out.

Long Yongtu, 76, no longer holds any public office and does not speak on behalf of the Chinese government, but he remains an influential figure in the China-US trade talks.

After fighting for over a year over their respective import duties, Beijing and Washington now seem close to a partial and temporary settlement of some of their problems.

Long currently heads the Centre for China and Globalisation, a Beijing-based think tank. In the South China Morning Post, he is quoted as saying that “Despite his fickleness, Trump is a transparent and realistic negotiator who is concerned only with material interests such as forcing China to import more American products.”

He is unlike his predecessors, who challenged China on hot geopolitical issues like Taiwan or Hong Kong, in which “Beijing has little room to manoeuvre.” “Trump talks about material interests, not politics,” Long explained. “Such an opponent is the best choice for negotiations.”

AsiaNews disagrees. Contrary to what Long claims, Hillary Clinton, then secretary of state for Barack Obama, negotiated with Beijing on the basis that US material "interests" came before human rights, because, as she put it, “We live in a real world.”

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