“China can Consider Joining Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement” provides a thorough analysis about the necessity and benefit of joining TPP from multiple aspects. By now, quite a number of TPP members have publicly welcomed China to join TPP and fill the vacancy left behind by the United States. Therefore, a TTP membership can help China improve its overall international relations in the region. In addition, since China and America share a lot of common interest fundamentally, China’s participation in TPP is conducive to the formation of FTAAP and even a wider range of regional economic mechanism.
The report also argues that Trump administration is moving closer to Russia and intends to create more friction in the East Asia. By joining TPP, China can improve relations with the countries in East Asia and Southeast Asia, accelerate Asian integration and move forward the “One Belt, One Road” initiatives. Once becoming a TPP member, China can demonstrate to the world its economic openness and commitment to achieving global prosperity.
On Jan. 23, 2017, the newly sworn-in US President Donald Trump signed an executive order withdrawing the United States from TPP. A strong advocate against free trade, he has adopted a series of protectionist policies since his inauguration, causing massive concern from the international community. Although the Sino-US relations remain in calm, the two governments have been cautiously observing each other’s moves. It is a mutual belief that the maintaining the cooperative relations serves the interest of both countries and all the differences can be resolved peacefully over time.
In the meantime, China has entered into another historic era with new diplomatic dimension and mission. China needs to integrate the consideration about domestic and international situation in its strategic thinking and prioritize security and development. More efforts are needed to improve regional geopolitical situation, in order to create a more favorable external environment and prolong strategic period for China’s development, and economic diplomacy is one of the best tools to achieve this goal.
China’s rapid economic development in the past years has laid a solid foundation for economic diplomacy. A TPP membership can present a new opportunity for China to push forward its economic diplomacy agenda. Therefore, China should seize the moment to join TPP.
It was announced that the ministers from the other 11 TPP member states would meet in mid-March in Chile to discuss the next steps after the US withdrawal. Currently, some of the members are proactively engaging China to join TPP to fill in the vacancy left by the United States and improve its international environment through economic diplomacy. Becoming a TPP member is also conducive to China to construct a more comprehensive regional economic mechanism. In view of US President Trump’s intention to build an ally with Russia and create diplomatic frictions in East Asia, China, if as part of TPP, can improve the relations with East Asian and Southeast Asian countries and accelerate regional integration through the promotion of the Confucius culture and implementation of the “One Belt, One Road” initiatives. As the world’s second largest economy, China has been always put under the spotlight. If taking initiatives to join TPP, China can demonstrate its commitment to building an open economy and advancing the world development.