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‘It’s Not Too Late for Trump To Go’ to Belt and Road Conference, South China Morning Post Urges

May 8, 2017 (EIRNS)—An editorial in yesterday's South China Morning Post calls on U.S. President Trump to attend the Belt and Road Conference, and marshalls strong arguments for it.

The Hong Kong-based paper proclaims,

"But it is not too late for the U.S. to respond to the call to join [the Belt and Road Initiative] made during the summit between President Xi Jinping and Trump last month. Just last week, in the midst of apparently warming relations between Trump and Xi, Beijing’s Ambassador to Washington repeated the invitation to the U.S. to participate in the initiative, which opened the gate of opportunities for U.S. enterprises."

The paper reports that attempts to secure U.S. participation were encouraged when Toshihiro Nikai, Secretary General of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, and No. 2 in the party only to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, said he would attend the summit, a sign that Abe wants to improve ties with Beijing amid tensions arising out of North Korea’s nuclear missile programs.

The article asserts that the U.S.’s suspicion of the Belt and Road Initiative is the reason the United States refused to join the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Japan also remains cautious about the AIIB, but the article quotes Nikai, who is known for his close ties to China, who said that the North Korean issue means that mutual understanding between key U.S. ally Tokyo, and China, is vital. Further, the story reports,

"The call for U.S. participation is in keeping with the sentiment expressed by Xi that great power rivalry is best dealt with through mutually beneficial ties centered on win-win cooperation, and combined effort in key areas such as the economy and security."