BBC interviews CCG President on US Election 2020
Tuesday,Oct 20, 2020
On October 20th, 2020, Dr. Wang Huiyao, president of the Center for China and Globalization (CCG) had an interview with BBC World News on US Election 2020.
The following is an abridged transcript of the interview, which has been edited for length and clarity.
BBC World News: Do you think Donald Trump over the last four years has been good for China or bad for China?
Wang Huiyao: I think initially President Trump has actually brought some hopes because he is a more pragmatic businessman and is more business-oriented. I have said many times about that. President Xi is his friend. But unfortunately, we can see that things have actually turned soured because he launched the trade war. He has many hawkish advisors and has launched many fronts of negative proposals or sanctions on China. So, I think actually it has turned down this atmosphere quite a lot. It wasn't the US we used to know. It's more unilateralism and more “America first”. Multilateralism is under threat and also undermined quite a lot. Also, Sino-U.S. relations have been badly damaged.
BBC World News: Do you think it's better now for Donald Trump to stay in power or for Joe Biden from China’s perspective?
Wang Huiyao: Both of them have their pros and cons. For President Trump, I believe that he certainly will continue his success on US-China Phase One Trade Deal and he'll probably carry on “phase two” and “phase three”. He will be more business-oriented again. I think he will be more relaxed compared with his first term and he will pursue more American interests and particularly business interests. So, for that one, I think China-US trade negotiation will continue and some progress can be made there. On the other hand, since he is surrounded by a lot of hawkish advisors who are people with military backgrounds. It is difficult to see the second term will be more focused on other fields rather than trade.
BBC World News: What about Joe Biden? What implications do you think a win for him would have on China?
Wang Huiyao: I think Joe Biden is more from the establishment and he is surrounded by more people who have worked in the government, have a lot of experience with think tanks, academics and civil servants. He will certainly reassert American leadership in the western world.
BBC World News: I am sorry to jump in, but do you think that is bad for China? Do you think is it a zero-sum game if Joe Biden does win and does do exactly as you said? Does that mean bad news for China if those western democratic values are reinforced?
Wang Huiyao: Not necessarily. He wants to come back to the issue of climate change, like the Paris Accord. He needs China because China and the US are the two largest polluters in the world and we have to work together. Second, he wants to come back to the WHO. That's also another front that China can talk with him. He also wants to reform WTO. China is the largest trading nation and we can talk a lot. He also wants to come back to TPP. China is surely interested in joining TPP. So, there are so many multilateral fronts that China and the US can talk. I think if we keep talking, things will probably get better.
BBC World News: Before I let you go, I have to mention COVID-19. It seems that Donald Trump is very strongly blaming China at every available opportunity. What's your response to it？What’s your response to COVID-19，Donald Trump's words about the role of China and their impacts on relations between the two countries？
Wang Huiyao: I think there's a bit of misunderstanding there. We have never met COVID-19 before. Nobody knew what it was. COVID-19 was very surprising. People were shocked and took a bit of time to digest the information, diagnose, and get consensus and experts ’confirmation. But once China realized it was the deadly disease, there came the shutdown of Wuhan, a city of 11 million people, and Hubei Province with its 60 million people. China was shut down for two or three months. Now China has developed the methodology which is widely practiced around the world. That is quarantine, social distancing, massive tracing and all those massive testing. I think China has brought the situation under control. The disease from nature can attack any country. It just happened to first attack China. So, I think China should not be made a scapegoat for other countries’ not effectively handling the case. I think probably we need to rethink.