by WorldTribune Staff, December 5, 2016
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump responded to Chinese threats over his unprecedented conversation with Taiwan’s president by challenging Beijing’s trade policies and its provocative military buildup in the South China Sea.
A front-page editorial in the overseas edition of People’s Daily, the official organ of the Communist Party of China, denounced Trump for speaking with Taiwanese President, Tsai Ing-wen on Dec. 2, warning that “creating troubles for the China-U.S. relationship is creating troubles for the U.S. itself.”
Related: Trump’s call with Taiwan sparks international crisis . . . with U.S. ‘experts’ on China, Dec. 4, 2016
Trump dismissed the notion that he needed China’s approval to speak with Tsai. The President-elect tweeted: “Did China ask us if it was O.K. to devalue their currency (making it hard for our companies to compete), heavily tax our products going into their country (the U.S. doesn’t tax them) or to build a massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea? I don’t think so!”
Former U.S. ambassador to the UN John Bolton that it was to time to “shake the relationship up,”noting what he called China’s “aggressive and belligerent claims” in the South China Sea.
“Nobody in Beijing gets to dictate who we talk to,” Bolton, said to be under consideration for secretary of state in the Trump administration, told Fox News.
In a speech to the American Friends of Beit El Yeshiva Center in New York City on Nov. 4, Bolton said to resounding laughter: “I think the new president will bring dramatic changes. As you may have noticed … he is not a conventional politician.”
Bolton pointed out Trump’s conversation with Tsai and the elite media’s critical reaction, sarcastically quipping that the President-elect is even willing to ignore the advice of the State Department.
To another burst of laughter, he added “I would expect more of this kind of creativity” from President Trump.
Some China analysts see Trump as taking a stand on a different path from President Barack Obama in an effort to signal that the U.S. intends to compete with Beijing on economic issues.
Trump is looking like a negotiator from the start, some analysts said. “By showing strength at the beginning, he may hope to gain advantages in bargaining later with the Chinese on many key issues,” said Zhang Baohui, a professor of international relations at Lingnan University in Hong Kong.
“He is a businessman, and he could be bringing his business bargaining tactics to interstate relations.” Thus, he said, there was “strategic logic” to Trump’s actions in the past few days.
Jon Huntsman, a former ambassador to China who is also said to be under consideration for secretary of state, called Trump’s conversation with the Taiwanese president “shrewd”, saying it would provide a “useful leverage point” with Beijing.