We all know that fears and misperceptions linger on both sides of the Pacific. Some in our country see China’s progress as a threat to the United States; some in China worry that America seeks to constrain China’s growth. We reject both those views. The fact is that a thriving America is good for China and a thriving China is good for America. We both have much more to gain from cooperation than from conflict. But you cannot build a relationship on aspirations alone. It is up to both of us to more consistently translate positive words into effective cooperation — and, crucially, to meet our respective global responsibilities and obligations. These are the things that will determine whether our relationship delivers on its potential in the years to come. We also have to be honest about our differences. We will address them firmly and decisively as we pursue the urgent work we have to do together. And we have to avoid unrealistic expectations.
If the Trump team struggled to lift sanctions, imagine how hard they will find it to strike a grand bargain with Russia to remake European security architecture—what the Russians sometimes call Yalta II. Who would prepare such a summit? How would the White House pull it off over the objections of Defense Secretary James Mattis, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford and others, not to mention Congress. Yes, Richard Nixon opened up China in secret but this is precisely the point—it requires people with the technical brilliance of Nixon and Henry Kissinger to do such a thing.