Those diplomacy-savvy knowing the weight of China-U.S. relations will take a look and give a thought, with both anticipation and apprehension, as electors are set to gather in every U.S. state on Monday to formally elect Donald Trump president.
Their mixed feelings have been manifested, and for reasons. The U.S. president-elect has in the past few weeks triggered a trove of jaw-dropping events that fomented pervasive misgivings over his ability and aspiration to make China-U.S. relations a constructive pillar in his agenda.
If taking literally Trump's statements on his Twitter account, it seems that the billionaire is ready to deal the bilateral relations with mere mercantile mindset. He has not shied away disclosing attempts to take the one-China policy as a bargain chip, blame the renminbi (RMB) for the U.S. mounting deficit, and accuse China of stealing a U.S. unmanned underwater glider that served as part of the country's perennial close-up surveillance of China in South China Sea.
But even deals require both sides to exert enough respect for each other's bottom line and prudence to not tread on it. Beijing has informed every U.S. administration of its red line -- non-negotiable as always -- the integrity of its sovereignty, whether in the case of Taiwan or of its South China Sea islands.
Not to mention that diplomacy, much more weighty and complicated than doing businesses, deserves more discretion and calculation. After all, what Trump administration is going to deal with is the world's second largest economy as well as its largest trading partner.
Sooner or later, the former real estate mogul will, as his predecessors have done, be aware of the strategic significance of an amicable, or at least constructive, China policy, and turn to engage with Beijing in pragmatic cooperation instead of unwanted provocation, although disputes are barely ineluctable for any economies with such highly intertwined interests.
More noteworthy is the fact that cooperation is the only choice for China and the United States. It would be an unaffordable adversity to all human beings if the two countries, whose global interests and influences are incomparable, tend to meet their differences with qualm and enmity in the first place.
As the clock ticking for the presidential power transfer in 2017, it remains imperative for the outgoing administration and incoming White House occupant to weigh up the importance of China-U.S. cooperation for the latter's global interests, and make decisions based on sensible judgements.
It depends on Trump to make his China policy an asset rather than liability for his administration. But first, he is expected to abide by his promise to strengthen U.S.-China cooperation for win-win results when receiving the congratulatory call from Chinese President Xi Jinping.
That demands his aspiration to extend put-oneself-in-others-shoes empathy and engage in clear-the-air communications with China.