STRIPPED of their rhetoric, the statements by chief trade negotiators of the United States, China and European Union (EU) on Beijing's entry into the World Trade Organisation (WTO) appear heartening. In a matter of days, negotiations suddenly seem to have taken off, with the three key players apparently intent on working out a solution to allow the world's fastest-growing economy to become a founder member of WTO, which succeeds the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade on January 1. The good news for China is there is now a convergence of positions between the US and the EU on a transition period for Beijing so that it can comply with the full requirements of WTO founder membership. That removes a major contentious point between the US and China, and will take the negotiations forward. The US originally was adamant that China should be admitted as a developed country but the latter argued that it was in more ways than one a developing country. By agreeing to a compromise, the US is being pragmatic and reasonable. China is not just Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing. Anyone who has been to the less affluent places which form the greater part of China can tell that it is not yet a developed country. China, on its part, had indicated that it could be flexible in some items if that was reciprocated by other WTO contracting parties. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. Beijing's chief negotiator Wu Yi would have to demonstrate the sincerity of those words when she is huddled with Mickey Kantor in side talks during the Asia-Pacific Economic Forum in Indonesia. What remains to be settled now between her and Mr Kantor is the terms of China's initial price of admission and how the transition should be handled. Both sides must seriously and creatively engage in some give-and-take. It does no one, especially the US, any good to leave China out of the powerful WTO. It is far too big to be ignored on the world stage. Yet, China cannot expect to be treated any differently from other member states. Big or small, it has to play by the same set of trading rules. That, after all, is what WTO membership entails.