Trump's China Policy: Expect anything, any time from him

Trump's China Policy: Expect anything, any time from him

ISLAMABAD - China has been focusing on ‘Making China Great Again’ for the past four decades. It is rapidly growing

economically and its influence is not just limited to Asia but Europe and Africa too. During cold war, the

way USA created Marshall Plan to help European states and to keep them under its influence, China’s

One Belt One road Initiative (OBOR) is following the same pattern.

China has started different economic

projects with its neighboring states because now it understands the importance of attaining strategic

support from its neighbors if it wants to get role of leading world power. Like countries who depend for

security purposes on US, they now depend economically on China. On the other hand, we see that

President Trump shares the same ambition of making America great again.

It seems that both the leader

of these two states suggests that their state has declined and they will be the one to help their

respective state in restoring the top position but at the expense of other.

We saw that when President Trump took the office it was believed that US China relations will get worse

because of his statements he made during his presidential campaigns against China in which he

criticized China for raping US economy and labeling it as country’s enemy.

But now we can observe the

transformation in his policy towards China favoring friendly relations between two which were strained

during Obama administration. There could be multiple reasons behind changing its strategy towards


We know that Trump is a businessman and previously he was not a part of political establishment so he

does not possess that cold war mentality and ideology which makes him not to fear much with China’s

economic rise. Maybe he understands now that improving relations with China will favor US interests.

Without Chinese cooperation “America First” policy of Trump will not achieve success. One reason could

be maintaining dollar’s status as international currency as China’s huge foreign reserves are mainly in

dollars. Second Trump’s “America First” policy was not warmly welcomed by its traditional allies and

drew domestic criticism, so in order to compensate he attempted to make breakthroughs with China.

Other reason could be the way China handled Trump calmly even after facing criticism and convinced US

and world that China’s rise is peaceful and will contribute to world’s prosperity and development.

Yet there exist strong disagreements and divergence among them. Where President Trump wants to

build walls, the Chinese President seems to be obsessed with building bridges. But North Korean issue is

at the top which is a big obstacle in developing trust between them. North Korea’s proliferation of

atomic energy, formation of two ballistic missiles and carrying hydrogen bomb with the range to hit USA

has threatened the whole region along with USA.

Trump has criticized China that they are doing nothing

in order to discourage North Korea’s nuclear proliferation. Trump on his visit to China urged Chinese

president to “act faster and more effectively”. He believes that North Korea has a backing of China and

that’s the reason China is not doing what US wants (maybe he’s right). Although China supported

sanctions over North Korea but they did not do sufficient to abandon North Korea and to satisfy USA.

Apart from their alliance since cold war, North Korea depends largely on China for food and fuel. China

fears North Korea’s regime collapse more than it fears nuclear armed North Korea because the collapse

Kim Jong Un regime will result in the streaming of millions of refugees into China.

President Trump on his Asia tour, praised and admired China and his President Xi Jin Ping who emerged

as the undisputed president of China from Communist Party Congress in October. He realized that it is

important to have personal connections and good relations with Chinese president in order to fulfill its

interests that can be achieved through China. The purpose of the visit for Trump was not to come back

home having numerous trade deals in hand but to convince China over North Korea issue. USA can

never use the trick of flattery to make China agree to their demands.

Chinese President Xi Jin Ping is fully

determined to make China great again and has set forth some non-negotiable interests which clearly

sends message to Trump that on which areas he can bring China on his side and on which he cannot.

China will not indulge itself in any conflict which will benefit USA and will hamper Chinese progress to

rise. Just like USA and other states, national interests are and will remain China’s top priority.

It is evident that both states are not going to wage a war against each other and the chances of new cold

war between them is minimal in the era of globalization due to their high economic interdependence.

On the trip to China by President Trump, it was reassured by both Presidents that through extensive

collaboration and cooperation, the problems and issues that exists among them can be solved. But one

should not forget the unpredictable nature of President Trump which is doing less good to USA. He kept

the world uncertain about his long term strategy towards China which a good relation demands. While

on other side, his erratic nature makes China to be prepared all time and expect anything at any time

from him!

Written by: Zainab Nawaz Abbasi