Trump’s One-China Affirmation Should Fool No One- Especially China

by Cary Huang / 18 February 2017 /SCMP

US President Donald Trump’s commitment to honour the one-China policy, pledged this month in the first telephone conversation with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping (習近平), appears to be an effort to prevent the US-China relationship unravelling further following Trump’s repeated China bashing last year. Trump has also broken the ice with Xi in a letter that says he looks forward to developing relations.However, it must be remembered that since his surprise election in November, Trump has infuriated and unnerved Beijing by questioning the US government’s long commitment to the policy and by having an unprecedented phone conversation with Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, breaking decades of diplomatic protocol.

However, it must be remembered that since his surprise election in November, Trump has infuriated and unnerved Beijing by questioning the US government’s long commitment to the policy and by having an unprecedented phone conversation with Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, breaking decades of diplomatic protocol.

At issue is the unavoidable conflict between the two leaders’ ambitiously nationalistic agendas – Xi’s “Chinese Dream” and Trump’s campaign promise to “Make American Great Again”.

So, Trump’s tough talk against China may be part of a strategic calculation by the new administration, designed to set the stage for showdowns on trade, Taiwan and regional security following a decline of influence while the US was preoccupied by other global concerns, starting with the September 11 terrorist attack.

It should be noted that Trump’s commitment to the one-China policy means nothing as long as the administration forges ahead with stronger relations with Taiwan. Trump has indicated he may sell more advanced arms to the island and help to defend it under US laws. Read more…

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