On Hong Kong and Taiwan, it argues the "one-China" policy, however interpreted, must remain the bedrock of U.S.-Sino relations. It essentially counsels a continuation of U.S. policy under Barack Obama: engage China but pivot to Asia; find common interests such as restraining North Korea and collaborating on climate change; and reassure U.S. allies about its security guarantee, including Taiwan.
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On Hong Kong, it says China must be made to respect its high degree of autonomy as guaranteed under the "one country, two systems" formula, the provisions of which are spelled out in the Basic Law and the Sino-British Joint Declaration. That's hardly controversial; everyone agrees on that, even Beijing. It's just that different parties interpret the Basic Law and the nature and extent of "autonomy" differently. The study even advises against unilateral actions, saying the Trump administration should "consult closely with London on all Hong Kong-related issues".
Trump has, at one time or another, threatened to undermine many of these policy pointers. He seems to think "one China" is just another bargaining chip. It is not even clear if his administration acknowledges the reality of climate change.
The report is a nice read for policy wonks and journalists. But it's preaching to the converted, and Trump and his team have radically different ideas. Perhaps the best we can hope for is that Trump will care nothing about Hong Kong and will not make it an issue to complicate Sino-U.S. relations.
Commentary by Alex Lo from the South China Morning Post.
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