Former secretary of State ranks relations with China as priority

Former Secretary of State George Shultz praised the changes he’s seen in the Trump administration’s foreign policy since the campaign, noting that the president’s approach to foreign affairs “is evolving, and it shifts around quite a bit as far as I can see.” 

In an interview with CBS News’ “Face the Nation,” he told host John Dickerson that he’s “glad to see he’s supporting NATO, he’s gotten off the challenge to the one China policies.”

Shultz, referencing reports that Chinese President Xi Jinping will be visiting the U.S. soon, said, “That’s a good thing.” During the presidential campaign, Mr. Trump had threatened to brand China a currency manipulator, and he had also seemed to question the “One China” policy before his inauguration. “I don’t know why we have to be bound by a ‘One China’ policy,” Mr. Trump said on Fox News last December.  

But now, Shultz suggested that the Trump Administration seems willing to meet China half-way. Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, a political ally of the president, has met with the Mr. Trump several times, and Shultz said that his recent appearance on the world stage has been instrumental. He feels that Kissinger’s meeting with Xi in December of 2016 and, most recently, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s visit last week have eased international tensions over issues such as how to deal with North Korea’s missile tests.

Despite China’s mounting military build-up in the South China Sea, Shultz praised any effort to find common ground with Beijing. 

“If we can develop a good relationship the president of China, that’s very important,” Shultz said.