Beijing: Donald Trump went after China throughout his successful presidential campaign. Now, it seems, China is going after him. Just hours after he was declared the winner of the messy election and the next US President, a Chinese newspaper that is a mouthpiece of the country’s ruling party put out an editorial threatening Trump with “countermeasures” if he messes around with China-US trade.
Global Times, a Chinese government-run English-language daily whose editorials are considered articulations of the positions of the Chinese Communist Party, published the editorial on its website. The piece, titled ‘China strong enough to cope with Trump victory’, was a mish-mash of mixed signals.
On the one hand, the piece took direct shots at the brash New York billionaire, even going to the extent of saying he would not live up to expectations. On the other hand, it expressed optimism that Trump might be willing to work with the Chinese, something the editorial claimed Barack Obama did not do.
“No matter how Trump changes US domestic and foreign policy, it won’t compare with the shock brought on by his victory. He probably will not make any drastic changes in the short-term, and it is highly likely that he will not live up to his campaign promises. He is not as bold enough to really change the country,” read the editorial.
It went on to say the highest level of uncertainty with the volatile president-elect was his foreign policy. If Trump continues to keep up a rabble-rousing tone in his foreign policy as he had during his campaign, the paper warned, he threatens to “turn Sino-US relations from a geopolitical rivalry to an economic conflict.”
“The new president lacks diplomatic experience. His much touted business experience will in some form penetrate future US foreign policy. In turn, Sino-US relations may see dramatic renegotiations, including sharpened conflicts of interests,” the editorial said.
“The future trajectory of Sino-US relations should not be determined by his character. China needs to safeguard its interests with its own strength. If Trump wants to target bilateral trade, he should first weigh the consequences of China’s countermeasures,” it added.
The Global Times editorial did however contain a softer word or two about the man who is set to be the 45th US President. “…Trump may be more focused on interested in the new type of China-US relations than outgoing President Barack Obama, who was deeply influenced by Clinton. Trump may not be as strongly adverse to a “win-win” scenario with China as the previous US political establishment,” the editorial said.