Saturday, November 30, 2019

China hopes Trump will be reelected : As long as we have money, we can buy him

I agree with the need to rebalance the trading relationship, but Trump's other actions and comments make me wonder if much of his actions against China are in support of China's rival, Russia.

By Anna Fifield
November 26, 2019 at 9:51 a.m. EST

President Trump has called out China for unfair trading practices, labeled the country a “threat to the world” and described leader Xi Jinping as an enemy.

Yet he recently congratulated the Communist Party on 70 years in power — which it marked with a military display aimed at the United States — and said his relationship with Xi is “very amazing” despite their “little spat” over trade.

Though the U.S.-China relationship has been rocky over the past 18 months, many in China’s halls of power hope that the American leader will win a second term next year. For although he may seem unpredictable, Chinese officials are betting that Trump’s transactional approach to politics might be preferable to a more principle-driven president, whether Democrat or Republican.

“Trump is a businessman. We can just pay him money and the problems will be solved,” said a politically connected person in Beijing, speaking on the condition of anonymity to talk frankly about sensitive international issues. “As long as we have money, we can buy him. That’s the reason why we prefer him to Democrats.”


Trump’s unfiltered tweets help China in negotiations because he is “easy to read,” said Long Yongtu, a former vice minister of foreign trade and China’s point man during its accession to the World Trade Organization in 2001, at a conference in Shenzhen this month. “We want Trump to be reelected; we would be glad to see that happen.”


But the Chinese were among the most shocked by the U.S. leader’s approach. When Trump took office, Communist Party officials thought that he was only interested in a quick, tweetable victory, analysts have said. But the party underestimated Trump’s resolve to both rebalance the trading relationship and make Beijing a public enemy among U.S. voters. Chinese leaders also acknowledge underestimating the extent to which China’s behavior has become a bipartisan concern in Washington, according to people who have met with senior officials.


“Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang, the free and open Indo-Pacific, all of these are issues that President Trump does not typically address,” Economy said. “If I’m correct in my assumption that he doesn’t care about these issues, because he never talks about them, then he will be more willing to just trade them out in discussions with the Chinese.”


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