In an opinion piece in the South China Morning Post on Friday, James Woolsey, a senior adviser to Trump on national security and intelligence, called Washington's spurning of the China-led multilateral lender "a strategic mistake" and expected a "much warmer" response From Trump to President Xi Jinping's "One Belt, One Road" initiative.
The United States and Japan are the only two G7 countries that have not signed up to be AIIB members, a move viewed by Beijing as a sign of Washington's mistrust of the Chinese government and its ambition to exert bigger regional influence.
Analysts said that if Trump backed US membership of the AIIB and endorsed China's efforts to revive trade routes along the ancient Silk Road, it would be a big sign of goodwill from Washington to Beijing to pave the way for future agreements.
Former Chinese vice-commerce minister Wei Jianguo agreed, saying that while Trump labelled China a currency manipulator and threatened trade wars, he might have a more open attitude towards China-backed institutions and investment programs.
Wei Jianguo, China Center for International Economic Exchanges, now a deputy director of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, said that if Trump embraced the AIIB, more trade and investment deals could flow between the two economies.
Daiwa Capital Markets economists Kevin Lai and Olivia Xia said that if Trump aborted the TPP, China could avoid the risks of "being shut out of a massive trade deal." But it could also delay much-needed reforms in China.
"Without the threat from the TPP, China could continue to support inefficient state-owned enterprises to strengthen the state control and impose local-content requirements on multinational companies to keep jobs in China," they said.
SOURCES- South China Morning Post