Sino-US relations and Trump’s Asia policy

By Aaron Jed Rabena/ January 31, 2017 / Originally Posted at Asia Times

Sporadic tensions and volatility are not new in Sino-American relations. Both major powers diverge on a wide range of geopolitical and strategic issues such as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system deployment in South Korea and the management of the North Korean nuclear issue.

In the run-up to Donald Trump’s inauguration as 45th President of the United States, China and the United States have seen premature confrontation on two other sensitive issues that may continue to endure under a Trump presidency: the Taiwan issue and the South China Sea (SCS) disputes. Trump’s controversial phone conversation with Taiwanese leader Tsai Ing-wen upended the status quo in cross-strait relations and put into question the United States’ commitment to the One China policy, which China deems a nonnegotiable core interest.

In responding to China’s evocation of the long-standing concordat, Trump resorted to “Twitter diplomacy” in stepping up invectives against China’s currency manipulation and construction of a “massive military complex” in the SCS. He also criticized China for taxing hefty fines on American goods, which has contributed to the large American trade deficit.

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