Thu, Apr 20, 2017 - Page 8 News List

Has Trump become soft on China?

By Sushil Seth

“If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will. That is all I am telling you,” Trump said.

To reinforce Trump’s message, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said that the US would “no longer take excuses from China.”

“They need to show us how concerned they are. They need to put pressure on North Korea. The only country that can stop North Korea is China… We’re going to say what we think and we’re going to move the ball and that’s what this is about,” she was quoted as saying.

However, Trump’s tone has lately softened on China. He has said that after talking to Xi he now has a better understanding of China’s difficult situation.

Despite all the implied threats from the US and pressure from China, Pyongyang still went ahead with its most recent missile test — which fizzled out — showing that the North Korean leader is impervious to threats.

Trump has even declared that China is no longer a currency manipulator, which might mean that the heat might be taken out of the trade issue, averting fear of a trade war.

Trump has said of Xi: “We have a good relationship, we have great chemistry together. I think his wife is terrific.”

In contrast, he said of Russia: “We’re not getting along with Russia at all.”

He described the relationship with Moscow as having hit “an all-time low.”

China is reportedly happy over reversal of some of Trump’s pronouncements of serious charges about currency manipulation.

Shen Dingli (沈丁立), an international relations expert at Fudan University in Shanghai, went so far as to say that, “He [Trump] will be the best US president for China compared with any previous US president... He is the most friendly US president ever.”

However, with Trump, nothing is certain. Many of his pronouncements are uttered through social media platforms, suggesting ad hoc policymaking. Just ask the Russians.

Not so long ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin was Trump’s political idol in some ways. Now, it looks like he is in the doghouse. The Trump administration is probably the most unpredictable in the annals of the US history.

Sushil Seth is a commentator in Australia.

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