By Wu Guoxiu, CGTN
Both optimism and concern are mounting in the academic world over the trade conflict between China and the US. On Saturday, over 30 Chinese scholars gathered to talk about what’s been happening, and proposed ways to move forward.
University professors and former government officials were brought together by the Charhar Institute, a non-governmental think tank on diplomacy and international affairs, to talk about the trade relations between China and the US.
Professor Jiang Shixue from Shanghai University said the US is an important trade partner, and that a prolonged conflict will negatively impact both economies. But he is optimistic about the future.
“If you compare with the financial crisis of 10 years ago, this trade war is a little bit smaller. We are now in a stage of rapid economic growth with four decades of economic reforms. I think China has a lot of weapons to deal with the crisis. I'm quite optimistic about the result. I hope the Trump administration to sit down for a win-win solution to the negative trade conflict,” Jiang said.
However, John Gong, an economics professor at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, said he's concerned about the evolving China-US relationship.
"Today, in Washington, the Chinese government doesn't have a friend anymore. I think the US' China policy has fundamentally changed. There is a great consensus that from the left and right, from Democrats to Republicans, that the relationship between China and the US is of a competitive nature."
Gong said he hopes the competition to be fair and constructive but not confrontational, adding that China should step up encouraging technological innovation.
Professor Jia Qianguo of Peking University is also concerned about the broader picture, but said China has to respond in a firm manner.
"Hopefully we should try to avoid the spillover effect of the trade conflict. We should make it an economic issue, rather than let it affect other areas of the relationship," said Jia Qingguo, dean of the school of International Relations at Peking University.
Despite some differences in sentiment, there’s a consensus among the scholars: China should continue with its reform and opening-up as the fundamental response to the trade conflict.