US-Chinese Power Relations and Threats: Moving Forward by Loleï Brenot

China does clearly pose a threat, not yet major, to the United States, due to this rising power. To manage this and keep civil relations between the two countries, our President-elect must practice great caution and respect moving forward in economic and political dealings with China.

The Economist article entitled “The Dangers of a Rising China” aptly points out, “Chinese leaders’ history lesson will have told them [that] the relationship that determines whether the world is at peace or at war is that between pairs of great powers. Sometimes . . . it goes well. Sometimes . . . it does not.” Currently, many are concerned about American relations with the world at large, particularly China, due to the recent presidential election. The recent resurgence of Chinese economic and trade power due to a rapidly rising population has led to predictions pointing to China soon overtaking the US in terms of economic power. What this means for the United States is yet to be seen; however, China does clearly pose a threat, not yet major, to the United States, due to this rising power. To manage this and keep civil relations between the two countries, our President-elect must practice great caution and respect moving forward in economic and political dealings with China.

Chinese manufacturing and production has a current, crushing hold over the entire world that would be difficult to overcome, should Chinese global relations sour. As was pointed out in the Economist article entitled “Made in China,” Chinese global manufacturing, currently at nearly 25%, has risen dramatically since 1990, when it made up under 3% of global manufacturing output. This very rise in production is what has catapulted China to the top of the power spectrum, as the world relies on Chinese products, with China supplying nearly half of the world’s products. This hold over the world is why US-Chinese relations must remain strong, as China has an extreme power hold on the United States in terms of manufactured goods, similar to the leverage of oil-supplying countries. However, it must be kept in mind that while China’s economy as a whole may overtake the United States’, the country’s prosperity will likely not be as widely shared as it has been in the United States, with many Chinese citizens still living in rural poverty. This is a possible major threat to United States power, although not a direct one, as complete reliance on the Chinese can lead to extreme problems if a disagreement were to occur.

Already since the election of President-elect Donald Trump, waves have been made in regards to Chinese-US relations.

Already since the election of President-elect Donald Trump, waves have been made in regards to Chinese-US relations. Although a phone call may seem trivial, a call between Trump and Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen reported by The New York Times has had the world on the edge of its seat, as Trump hints about recognizing Taiwan as a sovereign state, rejecting the decades-long “One China” White House policy, in efforts to make trade and other agreements. This American threat to Chinese power and sovereignty could possibly lead to China becoming a greater threat to the US, if it exerts its extreme power over America more fully. Trump’s already bold moves have threatened to send the world into a tailspin of anxiety, speculating as to what will come next. Professor Wenran Jiang of the University of Alberta points out in a Globe and Mail piece that “Mr. Trump has again demonstrated that he is perfectly willing to disregard traditional foreign-policy norms in Washington, even with a country that has enough military and economic might to challenge U.S. global supremacy.” The Obama Administration has also spoken out against Trump’s actions, noting that the decades-long, bipartisan-supported “One China” policy should not be used a a “bargaining chip” in American-Chinese relations, as reported by the States News Service. Additionally, the Chinese government’s response to Trump’s phone call with Taiwan was not one of ease, as the government stated that it is “seriously concerned,” as The Independent reports.

These actions of President Trump are only a taste of what is to come from his administration in the next four to eight years. While such an extreme statement is a bold way to begin the period immediately after his election, one should expect nothing less from a figure like him. But whatever the shock value of moves like the Taiwan call, there is likely definite forethought and an agenda behind any such action on President Trump’s part. CBC News reported International Studies Professor Wang Dong of Peking University pointing out, “‘This is a very deliberate move, calculated to test China. If China reacts strongly, then he might back off a bit. But if he perceives China to be soft, he will become bolder.’” While the President’s actions may appear to be brash and uncalculated, if Professor Wang Dong is correct, Trump’s dealing with China in the coming years may adapt and be influenced greatly, being less black and white than it appears, and making the threat of future relations souring quickly perhaps less immediate.

Nonetheless, moving forward, it is likely that President-elect Trump will continue to uphold his appearance of dealing with foreign policy in a manner similar to his business dealings, in hard-hitting and direct ways. This can be viewed both positively and negatively, as, while more may be done, the reactions of other countries cannot be gauged completely prior to these actions, and one can only hope that our future president does not ruin relations that have been carefully constructed. However, it must be kept in mind that China is a soft but rising threat facing the United States, as its power continues to grow, and great caution will be required in dealings with it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s