Trump and China?

Many fore­see the US hav­ing dif­fi­cult re­la­tions with China if the pres­i­dent-elect keeps his cam­paign prom­ise to slap tar­iffs on China.

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE -

Against the in­di­ca­tions of most of the polls, Don­ald Trump has been elected to be the nex­tUS pres­i­dent, end­ing a year-long highly po­lar­ized po­lit­i­cal process to de­ter­mine the new­com­man­der-in-chief of theUnited States.

Al­though Trump won the Elec­toral Col­lege vote, the pres­i­den­t­elect lost the pop­u­lar vote, and the election has re­vealed a deeply di­vid­edUS. He has an un­shirk­able re­spon­si­bil­ity to rec­on­cile the coun­try when he en­ters of­fice.

Many fore­see theUS hav­ing dif­fi­cult re­la­tions with China un­der his lead­er­ship, es­pe­cially if he hon­ors his cam­paign vow to im­pose puni­tive tar­iffs of up to 45 per­cent against Chi­nese goods, which would surely re­sult in a trade war erupt­ing be­tween the two coun­tries.

How­ever, one should con­sider that Trump is a busi­ness­man first and fore­most, and he has al­ready worked with the Chi­nese side for over three decades, re­gard­less of any dif­fer­ences in po­lit­i­cal opin­ions. And as pres­i­dent, he will need to be prag­matic.

In­deed, it is rea­son­able to ex­pect fair prac­tice in con­duct­ing busi­ness. Pres­i­dent-elect Trump should be mind­ful that al­though his cam­paign rhetoric has taken him to the WhiteHouse, it will ruin his pres­i­dency if he tries to put it into prac­tice. It is highly un­re­al­is­tic to ex­pect to im­pose upon oth­ers with­out back­lash.

Ac­tu­ally, the ar­bi­tra­tion mech­a­nism of theWorld Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion is al­ready in place to rec­on­cile trade dis­putes among mem­ber states. There is no rea­son or con­ceiv­able Shen Dingli is a pro­fes­sor and as­so­ciate dean of In­sti­tute of In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies, Fu­dan Univer­sity. ben­e­fit for the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion to by­pass it.

The three main is­sues that cause fric­tion be­tween China and theUS are hu­man rights, trade and se­cu­rity. Again, as a busi­ness­man, Trump might take a more prac­ti­cal rather than ide­o­log­i­cal ap­proach, while still re­spect­ing US val­ues. As China has also toned down its at­tach­ment to ide­ol­ogy in terms of ex­ter­nal re­la­tion­ships, the two coun­tries might be bet­ter able to rec­on­cile their dif­fer­ences un­der the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Turn­ing to re­gional se­cu­rity, China is just safe­guard­ing its ter­ri­tory and rights in the East China Sea and South China Sea, not at­tempt­ing to im­pede any of the US’ so-called free­dom of nav­i­ga­tion oper­a­tions in the re­gion. China has per­sis­tently pro­posed to re­solve the ter­ri­to­rial and mar­itime dis­putes it has with some of its neigh­bors through peace­ful means, and has so far man­aged to shelve the dis­putes with the Philip­pines andMalaysia. There­fore, the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion might keep away from the dis­putes.

Mean­time, Don­ald Trump has pressed Ja­pan and the Repub­lic of Korea to share more of the costs of de­ploy­ing US forces in these coun­tries. He has in­di­cated he would be in­clined to bring some of the forces home should Ja­pan and the ROK de­cline to pay up.

As US pres­i­dent, Trump will have to over­come a ten­dency of strate­gic short­sight­ed­ness by con­tin­u­ing to present pub­lic goods in the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion and not seek­ing hege­mony.

To sum up, the election of Trump as the next leader of the US presents both op­por­tu­ni­ties and chal­lenges. As long as he ad­heres to a prag­matic ap­proach, his ad­min­is­tra­tion can hope­fully build up a col­lab­o­ra­tive and mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial part­ner­ship with China and other coun­tries. His lack of ex­pe­ri­ence and over­con­fi­dence bring un­cer­tain­ties and could cause him frus­tra­tion that might lead to im­pul­sive­ness. But at present, Sino-US re­la­tions are wait­ing to write a new chap­ter and it re­mains to be seen what will be writ­ten.

LIU XINYI / FOR CHINA DAILY

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.