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US-China trade war could be accelerating but the latter still prefers Trump to get re-elected

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The US and China could be at the lowest of their decades long relationship, with the ever accelerating trade war but still experts believed that in the Communist nation leaders would prefer Donald Trump to take lead of the country for the next presidential term as well.

This view point might shock many including Trump himself as in an interview with the Reuter’s news agency in April, he said that China would do anything possible to make sure that he loses his re-election bid. Trump criticised Beijing for not only its biased trade deals but also for not giving information about the coronavirus pandemic at the initial stage of the outburst.

But contrary to the Republican US president’s opinion, late last year Chinese trade negotiator Long Yongtu reportedly told a Shenzhen conference, “We want Trump to be reelected; we would be glad to see that happen.” Long added that US president’s tweets makes him “easy to read,” which helps China deciding the time of events and help prepare its next move accordingly. Long said, that that’s why “the best choice in an opponent for negotiations.”

Besides Long, Hu Xijin, the editor of the China’s state-run newspaper Global Times, tweeted at Trump that the Chinese “wish for your reelection because you can make America eccentric and thus hateful for the world. You help promote unity in China.” Hu added that “Chinese netizens call you ‘Jianguo,’ meaning ‘help to construct China.’” Long and Hu might not be speaking on behalfof senior Chinese leaders, but in the regime where everything is state controlled, even an individual’s opinion, Chinese officials or media personalities would notmistake saying any in public which was contradictory to the opinion of the top leadership.

John Bolton, Trump’s former national security adviser, in his recent book revealed how apathetic Trump was about the rights of Uighur, Chinese minority community, put inside detention camps. Bolton said thatduring a dinner in Osaka, Trump told Chinese President Xi Jinping that detention camps for the Uighur community was the right thing to do to control them. Besides, Trump also showed no interest in speaking against the Communist regime’s crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. Up till last year, he avoided speaking in support of the protesters and called it China’s internal matter. In August 2019, Trump said, “That’s between Hong Kong and that’s between China, because Hong Kong is a part of China.”

In terms of trade, it was easy for China to strike a deal with Trump no matter how hard a negotiator he portrayed himself to be. During the two phases of talks, between two of the world’s richest economies Trump could seal only one – “phase one” deal in January, which had limited outcome. The phase one deal mainly focused on getting China to purchase more of American farm products, but did not talk about any laws to prevent Beijing’s discriminatory practices.

Trump’s foreign policy is quite simple for China to decode, and gives least importance to strengthening ties with allies, for example – the US president worsened the country’s ties with North Korea, Japan, and Europe. On the contrary, Trump’s Democratic presidential contender, Joe Biden, has already vowed to unite and form a group of countries to isolate and combat China. Biden said, “When we join together with fellow democracies, our strength more than doubles. China can’t afford to ignore more than half the global economy.” Biden’s policy could be far more dangerous for China.

Minxin Pei, a Chinese-American political scientist and analyst said, “The Trump people believe that the U.S. alone can deal China a fatal blow. Democrats would likely reach out to allies to form a much more united front against China. If the Democrats succeed, China would be in a much more difficult situation in the long run.” Pei told Michael Schuman that it would be easy for China to persuade Trump, if ‘the price is right’.

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