BEIJING (CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - It comes as no surprise that China and the United States have at last been able to deliver some results from their year-long trade talks.
Because they know exactly what the other insists on and opposes after 13 rounds of negotiations. The negotiations last week have been free of the sort of misunderstandings that arose during their initial negotiations. It is now merely a political decision to come into line.
The phased deal that China has consistently advocated is more realistic compared with the comprehensive deal the US administration was previously insisting upon.
Simply because both China and the US could not afford to let 20 percent of divergences prevent them from reaching a deal on the other 80 percent.
The US leader has accepted less than a comprehensive deal now mainly because the effects of the trade war have begun to bite in.
Complaints from the farmers, his voter base, objections from large enterprises, as well as signs of an economic downturn, have all helped to knock some sense into Washington.
Furthermore, all international organisations including the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organisation and the World Bank have all called for an end of the trade war as it has exerted negative influence on all economies.
It is interesting that the two countries reacted distinctly to the negotiation results.
While the US flaunted the phase one deal as a major breakthrough, China has remained somewhat dispassionate.
This is because it is accustomed to the US going back on its own words.
After more than one year of trade war China has a more mature appreciation of the dispute.
It will not lose heart because of failure to ink a deal, neither will it revel in delight if a deal materialises.
It is possible for the two leaders to sign the partial agreement at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in Chile next month even though deep-rooted differences may exist between the two countries for a long time.
As China further opens itself up, more problems are expected to complicate bilateral relations.
The key to not letting them derail relations is to talk about what can be talked about and put the fundamental disagreements aside as an impasse is bad for all.
The writer is a researcher in US studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. China Daily is a member of The Straits Times media partner Asia News Network, an alliance of 24 news media organisations.