While Beijing has yet to be bated into a Twitter war with Donald Trump following his China-bashing tweetstorm yesterday, Chinese state media are now beginning to take closer aim at the outspoken president-elect.
In case you somehow missed it, here’s the full rant which Trump later posted on his Facebook page, made after facing a shitstorm of criticism for his protocol-shattering conversation with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen:
“Did China ask us if it was OK to devalue their currency (making it hard for our companies to compete), heavily tax our products going into their country (the U.S. doesn’t tax them) or to build a massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea?” he asked. “I don’t think so!”
Chinese President Xi Jinping has still yet to respond to these accusations on either Twitter or Facebook, while China’s Foreign Ministry also hasn’t deigned to respond, but of course, the nationalist Party tabloid, the Global Times was up for the challenge.
In an editorial published yesterday, the Global Times said that Trump had “threw a tantrum against China” and predicted that Sino-US relations would be at their most volatile during the early months of his presidency. The editorial recommends that China must steel itself for the coming onslaught and “confront Trump’s provocations head-on.”
No matter what Trump thinks, China must be determined to upset his unreasonable requests at his early time in office, and fight back if his moves harm China’s interests, regardless of the consequences to the dynamics of the Sino-US relationship. If China behaves soft-heartedly for the greater good of the bilateral ties, it will only embolden Trump to be more aggressive.
Trump’s China-bashing tweet is just a cover for his real intent, which is to treat China as a fat lamb and cut a piece of meat off it. Trump wants to revive US economy, but he knows that his country is not as competitive as it used to be. He is trying to pillage other countries for the prosperity of the US. Trump seems to be wanting to make the US a new economic empire in the 21st century under his leadership, which is about to smash current world economic order. However, he doesn’t know that the US is the biggest beneficiary from the current world order, and he wants to reshape the world order into a winner-takes-all one.
The state news organization also responded on Twitter with some awkwardly translated comments from experts:
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) December 5, 2016
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) December 5, 2016
This follows another Global Times editorial published on Sunday headlined “Talk to Trump, punish Tsai administration,” which portrayed Trump as a foreign policy neophyte looking to make some waves who Taiwan thought to exploit. The opinion piece recommended that Trump must be reasoned with while Taiwan must be treated harshly.
People’s Daily also published an English-language editorial on Trump’s Twitter rant, saying that the president-elect’s “China-bashing” shows his “ignorance of China.” The editorial attempts to debunk Trump’s claims about currency manipulation and South China Sea militarism:
Trump does not seem to understand what China is doing with its currency, because he has repeatedly accused China of devaluing its currency. Many U.S. economists and currency experts agree that China is not a currency manipulator, and Chinese leaders have long insisted that market forces determine the price of the yuan. There is no solid data to suggest that current value of the yuan is being engineered. In fact, the U.S. Treasury Department has repeatedly declined to label China a currency manipulator.
China is not building a “massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea,” as Trump claimed. China wants peace and stability in the South China Sea, not tension and conflict. No doubt, China is determined and willing to safeguard its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, but the claim that China is militarizing the South China Sea is completely false. The claim just shows his ignorance of China.
State media editorial writers will likely be shocked to learn that in fact Trump understands “the Chinese mind.”
Finally, an editorial published on the English-language website of China’s official Xinhua news agency first attempts to shift focus from Trump’s tirade onto issues that China is more comfortable with:
But it is obviously hasty to draw a pessimistic conclusion on the outcome of his incoming presidency, as most media reports have got used to tagging his sensational claims and neglecting reasonable remarks made by the business mogul.
Today, more attention is needed on addressing the real problems and hard reforms facing the United States, which has seen an alarming rise in gun violence, hate crimes and social inequalities, among other complex political, economic and social situations.
The new U.S. president will have to put on a struggle to tackle the country’s domestic problems, which he has already painfully identified during the election campaign.
The editorial then concludes by advising the president-elect that he needs to “resist the light-headed calls for provocative and damaging moves on China by some hawkish political elites.” Writing that a healthy China-US relationship is necessary for world peace and prosperity, Xinhua says that it’s a fallacy to believe that Washington could benefit from “undercutting Beijing’s core interests.”
But what about Donald Trump’s core interests?
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