US should be more involved in China’s Belt and Road Initiative
In a recent conversation with Sino-US.com, Gal Luft, acclaimed energy security specialist, suggested the United States government to harness the opportunity to be involved in China’s Belt and Road Initiative in an all-round way.
 
He indicated even though the Trump administration has not yet formed its China policy, it is predicable that the US government would adopt a practical way to deal with China in a bid to reduce strategic conflicts and ramp up practical cooperation. In his perspective, the Belt and Road Initiative would be an opportunity, and besides that, fighting against climate change would no longer be the key field for the two countries to work together. Some more practical areas of cooperation would come up.
 
Luft has long believed that the negative attitude adopted by the US toward the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and Belt and Road plan would make it lose opportunities.
 
Luft suggested the US to be more involved in the initiative like joining the AIIB, and work as an agency for connecting Atlantic countries and the initiative.  
 
He also admitted there are some challenges for the US, like the existence of strategic conflicts and it would also be difficult for the US with its political system to convince taxpayers to ‘build bridges in Myanmar. All these would hold back the US efforts to play a more important role in the plan. 
 
According to Luft, the Trump administration is quite “special” in that it has different focuses and priorities compared with their predecessors, which may bring new opportunities for the two countries to cooperate in infrastructure construction and energy security. 
 
For example, Trump also regards infrastructure as important considering its construction would be of significance to the whole economic cycle. So, there is a possibility that during the trump years the two countries would join hands in related fields.
 
Luft pointed out that the policies toward China are still evolving as Trump’s cabinet is just taking shape. When more officials are in place, they will think and discuss and form a framework, but one thing is predictable - as a sensible and practical man, Trump would adopt a practical way to approach China.
 
More specifically, Luft said, Trump has no interest in the fields that the two countries have strategic conflicts. For example, Trump may take a step back in the Sino-US argument about the South China Sea. Meanwhile, focus for the bilateral cooperation may change somewhat. Trump has no passion for addressing climate change problems. So, fighting against climate change would no longer be a highlight of bilateral cooperation between the two countries.
 
About bilateral trade, Luft observed that bilateral trade dialogue has achieved progress. In his view, there are more reasons to be optimistic about the trade field, considering that the Trump administration would usher in a new trade era and more good opportunities would come.

Dr. Gal Luft is co-director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (IAGS), a Washington-based think tank focused on energy security, and a senior adviser to the United States Energy Security Council, a cabinet-level advisory committee.

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