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A Chinese Leap Forward?

The National Con­gress of the Com­mu­nist Part of China, which sets the course of the nation’s lead­er­ship and poli­cies every five years, opens next week dur­ing one of the most crit­i­cal times in the rela­tions with the United States.

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping, [pro­nounced she] who will be elected to a sec­ond, five-​year term, faces some inter­est­ing prob­lems, includ­ing the prob­a­ble retire­ment of some top lead­ers, the ongo­ing North Korea nuclear pro­gram, and rela­tions with Pres­i­dent Trump.

It has been cus­tom­ary for lead­ers to retire at the age of 68. That would include five of the seven most pow­er­ful lead­ers in China, includ­ing Wang Qis­han, Xi’s right-​hand man and anti-​corruption cam­paign leader.

SupChina, a great source for any­one who wants to fol­low devel­op­ments in China, pro­vides as excel­lent back­grounder at http://​supchina​.com/​2017​/​09​/​26​/​w​i​l​l​-​h​a​p​p​e​n​-​19​t​h​-​p​a​r​t​y​-​c​o​n​g​r​e​s​s​-​fall/

As SupChina notes: “Con­trary to many who have posited that Wang is too impor­tant to Xi’s agenda to be side­lined, the Macro Polo ini­tia­tive at the Uni­ver­sity of Chicago has come down firmly on the posi­tion that retire­ment norms will be fol­lowed this year. The initiative’s experts assigned only a small chance to the ‘norm-​wrecking’ sce­nario that keeps Wang in his posi­tion, say­ing that ‘even with a very strong Xi Jin­ping, [this] would face sig­nif­i­cant crit­i­cism and push­back at every level of the CCP.’”

Xi is likely to opt for a selec­tion of loy­al­ists that both accel­er­ates the ascen­sion of some peo­ple lead­ing to more atten­tion “devoted to focus­ing on exe­cut­ing the many eco­nomic reforms that have stalled or taken a back­seat to politics.”

On North Korea, China has ini­ti­ated steps to imple­ment the lat­est United Nations sanc­tions. That doesn’t mean that China and the United States are on the same page, but the rela­tion­ship is bet­ter than most legacy media types would have us believe. An excep­tion is a recent Reuters story at http://​www​.reuters​.com/​a​r​t​i​c​l​e​/​u​s​-​n​o​r​t​h​k​o​r​e​a​-​m​i​s​s​i​l​e​s​-​u​s​a​-​c​o​n​g​r​e​s​s​/​c​h​i​n​a​-​s​u​p​p​o​r​t​-​f​o​r​-​n​o​r​t​h​-​k​o​r​e​a​-​c​l​a​m​p​d​o​w​n​-​g​r​o​w​i​n​g​-​u​-​s​-​o​f​f​i​c​i​a​l​-​i​d​U​S​K​C​N​1​C32J2

Only a few weeks after the China meet­ing, Pres­i­dent Trump will visit Asia, where he will travel to five coun­tries from Novem­ber 3 to 14, attend­ing sum­mits held by both the Asia-​Pacific Eco­nomic Coop­er­a­tion forum and the Asso­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Nations. Expec­ta­tions for a shift in U.S.-China rela­tions are high, accord­ing to the influ­en­tial South China Morn­ing Post.

POLITICO also reports that the Trump Admin­is­tra­tion is con­duct­ing an exten­sive review of pol­icy toward China. See http://​www​.politico​.com/​s​t​o​r​y​/​2017​/​09​/​28​/​w​h​i​t​e​-​h​o​u​s​e​-​c​h​i​n​a​-​p​o​l​i​c​y​-​r​e​v​i​e​w​-​243274

Dur­ing the past three years I have spent vis­it­ing China, I found that the Chi­nese, par­tic­u­larly busi­ness peo­ple, see Trump as some­one they can deal with. It may not be a per­fect mar­riage, but nei­ther is it as vit­ri­olic as it was under Pres­i­dent Obama. More­over, U.S.-China rela­tions would have been dis­as­trous under Hillary Clin­ton. Sim­ply put, China was rather curi­ous and some­what relieved when Trump became president.

The National Congress of the Communist Part of China, which sets the course of the nation’s leadership and policies every five years, opens next week during one of the most critical times in the relations with the United States.

President Xi Jinping, [pronounced she] who will be elected to a second, five-year term, faces some interesting problems, including the probable retirement of some top leaders, the ongoing North Korea nuclear program, and relations with President Trump.

It has been customary for leaders to retire at the age of 68. That would include five of the seven most powerful leaders in China, including Wang Qishan, Xi’s right-hand man and anti-corruption campaign leader.

SupChina, a great source for anyone who wants to follow developments in China, provides as excellent backgrounder at http://supchina.com/2017/09/26/will-happen-19th-party-congress-fall/

As SupChina notes: “Contrary to many who have posited that Wang is too important to Xi’s agenda to be sidelined, the Macro Polo initiative at the University of Chicago has come down firmly on the position that retirement norms will be followed this year. The initiative’s experts assigned only a small chance to the ‘norm-wrecking’ scenario that keeps Wang in his position, saying that ‘even with a very strong Xi Jinping, [this] would face significant criticism and pushback at every level of the CCP.’”

Xi is likely to opt for a selection of loyalists that both accelerates the ascension of some people leading to more attention “devoted to focusing on executing the many economic reforms that have stalled or taken a backseat to politics.”

On North Korea, China has initiated steps to implement the latest United Nations sanctions. That doesn’t mean that China and the United States are on the same page, but the relationship is better than most legacy media types would have us believe. An exception is a recent Reuters story at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-missiles-usa-congress/china-support-for-north-korea-clampdown-growing-u-s-official-idUSKCN1C32J2

Only a few weeks after the China meeting, President Trump will visit Asia, where he will travel to five countries from November 3 to 14, attending summits held by both the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Expectations for a shift in U.S.-China relations are high, according to the influential South China Morning Post.

POLITICO also reports that the Trump Administration is conducting an extensive review of policy toward China. See http://www.politico.com/story/2017/09/28/white-house-china-policy-review-243274

During the past three years I have spent visiting China, I found that the Chinese, particularly business people, see Trump as someone they can deal with. It may not be a perfect marriage, but neither is it as vitriolic as it was under President Obama. Moreover, U.S.-China relations would have been disastrous under Hillary Clinton. Simply put, China was rather curious and somewhat relieved when Trump became president.