By Ryan Pickrell
President-elect Donald Trump and China are attempting to write the rule book on trade for each other, putting the two nations on a collision course.
Trump demanded China “play by the rules” Thursday night as he announced his pick for the ambassador to China in Des Moines, Iowa. China, in turn, warned of “serious consequences” if Trump fails to comprehend the game.
“They haven’t played by the rules, and I know it’s time that they’re going to start,” Trump said after claiming that China is responsible for more than half of America’s trade deficit.
“We’ve got to play by the rules, folks,” the president-elect explained.
He called out China for massive intellectual property theft, unfairly taxing American companies, not helping to address the “menace of North Korea,” the at-will and massive devaluation of their currency, and unlawful product dumping.
“Other than that, they’ve been great,” Trump concluded.
Beijing welcomes the appointment of Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad as ambassador to China. Branstad and Chinese President Xi Jinping view one another as “old friends.”
“Branstad is an old friend of China and we welcome him to play a bigger role in China-US exchanges,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang explainedWednesday.
“With his longstanding relations with China and its present leader, as well as his famous conviction to free trade, Branstad’s appointment … will no doubt serve both countries well,” wrote the China Daily Friday.
“He will prove a privileged, effective messenger for handling the upcoming uncertainties in bilateral ties, particularly in trade,” the paper added, “But a mutually beneficial relationship entails more than a trusted messenger.”
The China Daily criticized Trump’s recent phone conversation with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, calling the long-planned move “ill-advised.”
The editorial introduced that there is no need for Trump to prove that China is “dealing with a different kind of US president,” for “Beijing is [already] well aware of that.”
“Make no mistake about it: Taiwan stands on top of China’s menu of core national interests, and is not negotiable.”
“If he is misled by his advisors for whatever reason into believing that unnegotiables are negotiable, in this case the one China principle regarding Taiwan, the consequences could be serious,” the China Daily concluded.
The editorial appears intended to demonstrate that China is willing to push back when Trump pours on the pressure.