Following on from last week’s Relationships before Transactions, it’s both heartening and encouraging to see photos released from last week’s meeting at the Great Hall of the People between Chinese President Xi Jinping and representatives of the US business, strategic and academic communities. Even some of the most hardened cynics and detractors would, on balance, agree that meetings like this are positive for both countries (and the world) and a welcome relief from recent encounters between political leaders which take on a far more serious and confrontational tone.

When I first heard the prediction (back in 2003) that China’s economy would overtake America’s by 2027 (or thereabouts) I wondered how that would play out in practice. It seemed unlikely at the time that the US would take it lying down and we were right. Now we’re witnessing a major contest which crosses across ideological, technological and even military boundaries and, depending on who you listen to, places the whole world in a precarious position. 

We can only hope that those seeking a transactional outcome can be persuaded to spend more time working on the relationship first. From my experience (and I am sorry if this sounds disingenuous – it’s not meant to) that’s the only way to get what you really want.

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