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Trump's China policy lacks long-term vision: expert

The relations between China and the United States would face a testing time at a time when US President Donald Trump is pushing forward with his aggressive "America First" policy, which has led to US withdrawals of several international agreements since his inauguration as president two years ago, according to an expert.

Since taking office in 2017, Trump has considered China as a "competitor", "rival" and "revisionist nation", and made massive adjustments to the US policy toward China, as reflected in the fact that the United States is politically preventing China from intervening in key international regions that matter to Washington and from affecting the American society, said Wu Xinbo, director of Fudan University's Center for American Studies.

At the United Nations Security Council in September 2018, Trump accused China of meddling in the US congressional elections in November, claiming that the Chinese were trying to damage his political standing before the midterm elections because of his imposition of tariffs on Chinese goods. It was not the first time that the US president has condemned China of intervening in America's domestic affairs.

Economically, Trump not only wants to solve the trade imbalance between the United States and China through a tariff war and demand for more market access, but also restrains China from gaining global technological leadership, said Wu.

Trump has taken a series of measures aimed at banning technology transfer to China and trying to impede Chinese students and scholars in the sensitive fields from studying and researching at the United States' higher education institutions amid concerns over theft of US technology and intellectual property.

And militarily, Trump is worried about China's increasing military buildup especially in the key geopolitical regions like the Asia Pacific region, said Wu.

Recently, the South China Sea and Taiwan have again become flashpoints in China-US relations, as pressures mount in the two regions. Some observers say that Washington and Beijing look set to remain at odds over self-ruled Taiwan, whose leader Tsai Ing-wen does not recognize the 1992 Consensus, which prioritizes the "One China" principle. And some military and diplomatic experts believe that the South China Sea would continue to be the focus of the geopolitical conflict between China and the United States.

Earlier this month, Chinese President Xi Jinping said that China must strengthen its armed forces and prepare for wars amid territorial disputes in the South China Sea and growing tensions with the United States over issues including the status of Taiwan.

Wu, however, said that Trump's aggressive China policy reflects his nearsightedness and lack of long-term vision, and breaks away from his predecessor Obama, who emphasized US-China cooperation. This can also be seen from the fact that Trump's cabinet members are divided on issues related to China.

In Wu's opinion, China and the United States could work together on climate change and cyber security irrespective of their trade problems that the two countries are holding negotiations to resolve.


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