Why China, Trump’s prime target, favors 4 more years of his presidency

Trump has sought to capitalize on his reputation to face China in the election.

Donald Trump repeatedly argued that China Joe Biden is pushing for the November US presidential election. In Beijing, however, officials have come to support Trump’s four more years.

Interviews with nine current and former Chinese officials indicate a change in sentiment in favor of the sitting president, even as he blamed Beijing for everything from US trade imbalances to Kovid-19 over the past four years. main reason? There is a belief that the benefit of the post-war alliance network of the US would harm China from ongoing trade disputes and geopolitical instability.

While officials expressed concern that U.S.-China tensions would escalate, regardless of who was in the White House, they largely broke into the camps of those who worried about geopolitical gains and trade relations . The former Vice President, Biden, was seen as a traditional Democrat who wanted to shore up America’s stockpile multilateral relations and reduce trade-related protests.

Zhou Xiaoming, a former Geneva Chinese trade negotiator and former deputy representative, said, “If Biden is elected, I think it could be more dangerous for China, because he will target China with allies.” , While Trump is destroying the American alliance. ” Four current officials echoed that sentiment, saying many in the Chinese government believed Trump’s victory in examining China’s broader influence to overcome weaknesses seen as Washington’s greatest asset Can help

The general assumption underlying his ideas was that the slide between the two largest economies of the world could be done to ease the slide. Thus, China needs to accelerate efforts to develop high-indigenous industries, expand into developing markets, and seek opportunities to work with nations in Europe and Asia to counter any US secession efforts. was.

During Trump’s tenure, the realization in Beijing has gained momentum that opposition to China has deep bipartisan support in an otherwise polarized Washington. The coronovirus outbreak, first discovered in the country’s central city of Wuhan, has only hardened American views toward Beijing.

‘getting worse’

“I don’t think the election will fundamentally change the relationship. There is a deep feeling in the US that the US should join China,” Zhou said. “Whether Trump wins, or who goes to Washington, things will go bad.”

Chinese officials eager to avoid a recurrence of their surprise when Trump harassed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2016 have been pressing American contacts for insight into who they would win. Senior members of the American business community in Beijing say recent weeks have seen a sudden upsurge from well-connected Chinese friends who in some cases have not contacted them for years.

Although Republicans traditionally emphasized economic relations with China, Trump challenged the party in every area of ​​relations in the South China Sea in China’s territorial claims, trade, public health, human rights and technology. Moved in the direction of another collision. Democrats have largely supported those efforts, helping to pass legislation to support Hong Kong protesters and to provide more military aid to Taiwan.

Even Biden, who had long supported the strategy of “engagement” with China, adopted a harsh tone to warm the Democratic president’s priorities. In recent months, Biden has described President Xi Jinping as a “thug”, praising the “extraordinary bravery” of democracy protesters in Hong Kong and accusing China of “predatory” trade practices. They labeled “unprovoked” the mass detention of Uyghur Muslims in the far western region of Xinjiang.

Although Chinese officials continue to directly criticize Trump, Internet censors have allowed more nationalist-criticism of the US to circulate online. A foreign diplomat said China’s foreign ministry was “belligerent” and “angry” toward US officials.

“Trump has destroyed a lot of goodwill,” said Wang Hsiao, an advisor to China’s cabinet and founder of the Center for China and Globalization. “At the beginning of the trade war, there were a lot of people who were pro-U.S., But now they have sympathy for hard-liners.”

Trump has tried to capitalize on his reputation to face China in the election, despite his initial praise for Xi’s handling of the outbreak of Coronavirus. In April, he told Reuters that “China will do anything it can to defeat me in this race,” with no evidence that Beijing’s reaction to the virus centered on the desire to see it lose in November. was.

China’s Foreign Ministry reiterated its long-standing position that it never intended to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries. According to a possible indication, with both sides trying to manage the election-year disputes, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo was expected to meet top Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi in Hawaii later on Tuesday from the plans of two people Were familiar.

US stability

A Chinese official said that the election results did not matter as relations would not improve. China’s best hope, he said, was that things did not deteriorate further.

Some in Beijing are loudly thinking about Trump’s long-term impact on US stability, pointing to coronovirus cases, protests against police discrimination, and speculation about whether the epidemic will turn into chaos Can be eliminated. Gao Xichai, a former US diplomat and interpreter for Deng Xiaoping, said, “As we know it can no longer exist.”

Trump’s “America First” policies have caused similar friction in capitals traditionally friendly in the US, as he charges key trading partners, pressures allies for greater spending on collective defense, back from multilateral agreements Withdraws and supports the UK pause. From the union of Europe. Chinese officials privately acknowledge that a Democratic administration may prove more radical if it works to present a united front with allies.

Even though a Biden presidency proved more difficult for Beijing, two current Chinese officials said he could open up more areas for cooperation such as restoring US involvement in the Paris climate deal – when he called on then-President Barack Obama Was vice president, negotiated.

“He supports working on topics such as climate change, WTO reform and TPP,” Wang said. “There are areas where we can cooperate.”

On a more personal level, some Chinese officials involved in trade talks with the Trump administration support a Biden victory, so that they can spend more time with their families, one according to their own thinking. The person said that China’s business team has stopped working.

Both sides may find it difficult to avoid a pattern of confrontation, which one wins. Huawei Technologies Company executive Meng Wenzhou is still in custody awaiting a decision on a US extradition request in Canada, while Beijing’s plan to impose a security law on Hong Kong has provoked outrage in Congress and countries ” “Phase One” has brought the business deal to ‘.

“Nowadays people in China are becoming more clear about America’s objectives,” said Zhou, a former Chinese representative in Geneva. “We have not yet reached the darkest hour in the relationship.”

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)

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