Wed, May 29, 2019 - Page 8 News List

China faces bipartisan opposition in the US

By Edward Chen 陳一新

The trade dispute against China launched by US President Donald Trump has been welcomed in the US Congress by Republicans and Democrats alike. It seems that Beijing has few allies in the US’ political, academic, military, industrial and business sectors. This is unprecedented since China and the US established diplomatic ties on Dec. 15, 1978, requiring both countries to stay alert and come up with responsive approaches to the situation.

There have been few other examples of bipartisan foreign policy since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. On May 10, Trump increased tariffs on US$200 billion of Chinese goods and signed an executive order on the following Thursday to ban US companies from using telecommunications equipment made by China’s Huawei Technologies Co.

While the Republicans applauded Trump for launching the trade dispute against China, the Democrats criticized him for not going far enough.

Former US vice president Joe Biden, who has announced his bid to run for the Democratic Party’s presidential primary, is possibly the strongest contender against Trump in next year’s presidential election.

US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, has said that the US “must take strong, smart and strategic action against China’s brazenly unfair trade policies.”

That the pro-China faction has almost completely disappeared in the US is certainly interesting for several reasons.

First, there would hardly be any room left for rational thinking and discussion after anti-China policies become the norm in the US.

Second, if both sides of the aisle continue to support policies against Beijing, candidates would only drive up the anti-China sentiment during debates over the China issue in next year’s election, pushing the antipathy to a new high.

Third, determined not to be outdone in the dispute, US media outlets and Chinese state media would fire increasingly fierce criticisms at each other to boost US patriotism on the one side and Chinese nationalism on the other.

Fourth, with the trade spat gradually turning into a technology dispute, it might develop into a financial and currency dispute.

Fifth, the impact of increasing tensions over competition and opposition between the US and China in 5G mobile networks and facilities might be felt around the globe.

Sixth, the US-China competition and opposition can have strong and significant effects on international systems, which might lead to a potential reshaping of the international power structure.

China should reflect upon several issues in the face of the Republicans and Democrats joining in similar opposition.

Has the Belt and Road Initiative harmed other countries’ interests or failed to share its benefits with all? Has Beijing come under suspicion of monopolizing the South China Sea? Should it play a more positive and constructive role in Northeast and Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Central and South America, the South Pacific region and even the Arctic?

Should it expect itself to advance toward a higher goal in human rights issues?

More than 40 years ago, China was heading toward establishing normalized relations with the US; 40 years on, it should aim for becoming a more far-sighted and normal country.

Setting such a goal would be the best approach for China to respond accordingly to the anti-China sentiment prevalent in the US.

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