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  1. #1
    Senior Member lorrie's Avatar
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    Jan 2006
    Redondo Beach, California

    China has badly misread Donald Trump

    China has badly misread Donald Trump

    In need of stability: Chinese President Xi Jinping.

    12:00AM February 2, 2017

    The officials who look after China’s relations with the world respect — even admire — a tough negotiator. That’s how they first thought about the challenge of Donald Trump.

    Even when he rattled the foundations of US-China relations by taking a call from the Taiwanese President after his election, their calm response reflected hopes that he was bluffing. Indeed, Trump encouraged the idea by suggesting that trade concessions from Beijing might make his threats to abandon America’s longstanding “One China” policy go away.

    By now, it must be dawning on Chinese policymakers how badly they may have misread him. Whether banning refugees or going ahead with a wall along the Mexican border, Trump has made clear in his first days as US President that he actually means what he says to his popular base.

    The course appears set for confrontation between the two nuclear*-armed giants over issues that have been stewing for years: China’s mercantilist trade practices, its cybertheft, military build-up and ambitions to dominate its neighbourhood. Chinese leaders must decide how — or whether — to deal with a US President who has proven more volatile and unrestrained by diplomatic protocol than they could have imagined, and just as prone to sound off about US allies as adversaries.

    Can China do business with this White House?

    Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto asked himself the same question after increasingly hostile exchanges with Trump over whether Mexico would pay for the proposed wall — and cancelled his visit to Washington. The two leaders later spoke by phone.

    The episode stands as a warning about how quickly US ties could unravel with China, a far more important relationship, and knock confidence in the US among its Asian allies who count on the world’s two largest econo*mies getting along.

    Jorge Guajardo, a former Mexican ambassador to Beijing, says the Chinese leadership may conclude that attempting to deal civilly with Trump is a waste of time. Pena Nieto had “bent over backwards” to accommodate Trump, he says, welcoming him to Mexico in August with all the courtesies of a state visit.

    “I didn’t think (Trump) would be so callous and cruel immediately,” said Guajardo.

    Then there are the tweets. Chin*ese diplomacy is fastidious. Official exchanges are minutely scripted. Chinese public opinion, conditioned by a sense of national victimhood, is acutely sensitive to foreign slights.

    Imagine, then, the anxiety of Beijing’s leaders knowing that Trump could blow up a high-level meeting by embarrassing them with a 140-character blast.

    That’s the point, of course. Trump employs impulsiveness as a negotiating tactic — the “art of the deal.” He believes — with some justification — that skilful Chinese negotiators have outsmarted their predictable US inter*locutors at every turn.

    Lopsided trade flows illustrate the point. US technology markets are open, China’s are closing. Where’s the reciprocity? “They’re killing us,” Trump complains.

    Yet there’s a difference between* hardball negotiating and gratuitous offence.

    Pena Nieto can’t afford a complete rupture; he’s torn between national pride and fear that Trump will withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement and badly damage Mexico’s trade-dependent economy.

    China’s trade surplus with the US dwarfs that of Mexico. But Beijing* has more cards to play. If Trump raises trade tariffs, it can retalia*te against US multinationals such as Boeing or Apple that are reliant on the Chinese market.

    China has missiles and cyberwarfare capabilities. Ultimately, the US would prevail in a military contest over Taiwan or the South China Sea, but at a terrible cost.

    Beijing would greatly prefer tough negotiations over a standoff, or worse. President Xi Jinping needs internal stability as he prepares to consolidate power at a key Communist Party congress late this year. Any mishandling of the US relationship could expose him to criticism. Meanwhile, the economy is stumbling. As capital flees the country, export revenues from the US, China’s largest market, are more important than ever.

    High-level communication between* Beijing and Washington is vital to prevent disagreements spiralling into crises. Diplomats agree that Trump’s most urgent priority is rolling back the nuclear threat from North Korea. He can’t make progress without Xi. That means striking up a personal rapport. An early summit would help.

    Risk-averse Chinese leaders may try to wait out Trump, hoping he softens, or his presidency implode*s. If they take the plunge and engage, his erratic negotiating style will be a wildcard.

    Trying to use Taiwan as a bargaini*ng chip will play as disastrously with China as the wall does with Mexico. In that sense, Trump’s ugly spat with Mexico’s President is ominous.

    Says Guajardo, the former ambassado*r: “He doesn’t even allow you to get to the table.”

    The Wall Street Journal
    Last edited by lorrie; 02-01-2017 at 10:06 PM.

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  2. #2
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Aug 2005
    Well, it wasn't Trump's fault. Take it from the beginning:

    1. Nieto is the one who tweeted about the wall after his first meeting with Trump.
    2. Nieto is the one who tweeted again about the wall and made a video before his planned second meeting with Trump.

    Trump never brought up the wall with Mexico. Nieto did. TWICE.

    1. China is the one who tweeted or made public statements/threats about Taiwan's phone call to Trump.
    2. China is the one who put the "one China policy" on the table before they were even at the table.

    Trump has spoken openly about the trade deficits with China, he has every responsibility to do that.
    Trump has spoken openly about the islands for military purposes China is building in the South China Sea, he has every responsibility to do that.

    But Trump never spoke openly about Taiwan except for the nice phone call to congratulate him. No harm in that. China is the one who ramped up the rhetoric and threats, etc., etc. Same as Mexico has done with the Wall.

    Amateurs. They played their cards before they were even at the table.

    But don't worry, Trump's got this. Any time their talking about you and you aren't talking about them, you know they're the ones with the problem to solve.
    A Nation Without Borders Is Not A Nation - Ronald Reagan
    Save America, Deport Congress! - Judy

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