China’s Global Times editorial takes Trump to task

US President-elect Donald Trump gestures as he speaks at a 'Thank You Tour' rally at the Wisconsin State Fair Exposition Center in West Allis, Wisconsin, USA, 13 December 2016. Photo: Tannen Maury/EPA

China’s Global Times newspaper has launched a strong attack on US president elect Donald Trump after the businessman and reality show host threatened a major change to his country’s relations with China.

The Global Times, a Communist party-controlled newspaper, was writing after Trump reignited a row with Beijing by suggesting he might recognize Taiwan, which China claims is a breakaway province, unless China agrees to a new deal with his administration.

Trump’s move came less than two weeks after the businessman stirred anger in Beijing by holding a 10-minute telephone conversation with Taiwan’s first female president, Tsai Ing-wen, breaking a long history of US presidents avoiding direct contact.

The US businessman’s confrontational statements about US relations with China have raised eyebrows in diplomatic quarters used to a more engaged approach with China, an economic powerhouse set to shortly overtake the US as the world’s largest economy.

Trump’s call for a new deal is discussed in the editorial, published on December 12.

The following is the editorial in full:

Trump overestimates US capability to dominate the world

US President-elect Donald Trump on Sunday publicly suggested that the one-China policy can be used as a bargaining chip to ask Beijing to make compromises in areas such as trade deals with Washington. The calculating businessman might feel shrewd about seizing China's fate by the throat through the Taiwan question. However, the truth is this inexperienced president-elect probably has no knowledge of what he's talking about. He has overestimated the US' capability of dominating the world and fails to understand the limitation of US powers in the current era.

China has become a country with substantial strength among the countries in the West Pacific Ocean. It has never expanded its battlefront and therefore accumulated enough power to deal with any strategic challenge in its peripheral areas. Especially in the Taiwan Strait, China is now confident enough to arm-wrestle with the US. 

A series of outrageous remarks from Trump reflect that he despises China strategically. Pride goes before a fall. Even before entering the White House, he has already put his cards over blackmailing China on the table. After playing the one-China policy card, the greater part of his strategic initiative has been overused. 

China must win respect from Trump's team, otherwise it will be hard to interact with Washington in the next four years. Fantasizing over an appeasement policy is not an option. A new round of gamesmanship between the two countries will be needed to test how much respect the two should pay to each other based on their strength. 

Over decades of development, China's core interests have barely been enlarged, yet its ability to control the risks in the Taiwan Strait and South China Sea has been greatly boosted. We have a whole raft of tools to fight against Trump's economic and trade threats. It will be a decisive battle for Beijing to safeguard its core interests. If Trump wants to play tough, China will not fail.

Beijing should start from severely punishing Taiwan independence forces, exploring the possibility of disciplining those forces through non-peaceful means and make the use of military force an actual option to realize reunification.

Facing Trump, who is always unpredictable, China needs more imagination in its foreign policies. It should dare to make surprise moves and create a new pattern over the relationship with the US - while you play your game, I play mine.

Beijing will never drag out an ignoble existence by paying into a protection racket. The strength gap between China and the US for the moment is the narrowest in history. What reason do we have to accept a most unfair and humiliating deal from Trump?

(Editorial courtesy of Global Times)

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