The recent turn of events between US and China has led to a gloomy end of year. The one-China policy has been questioned by the President-elect Donald Trump, this has infuriated China after Trump received a congratulatory call from Taiwan.
The Chinese government responded with covert aggression by seizing an underwater American drone and adding anti-aircraft systems in the artificial islands of the South China sea.
The common ground for US and China’s rivalry in strategic interests has always been economic interests. However, disagreements over currency and trade can put to an end the economic cooperation and reduce the Sino-American relationship to a zero-sum geopolitical competition
The impending conflict is inevitable for both nations due to the enormous pressure at the domestic level. President Xi Jinping is striving to prove that his Chinese dream is making progress, all the while, the President-elect Donald Trump pledged to change the dynamic with China during the campaign period. This can only worsen the relations between the two nations.
Over the past two decades, the US policy toward China has been moderation despite the background tension that is set to appear in the forefront. China has rapidly transformed from a second-tier power to a major challenger of the Pacific region political order.
The Bush and Obama’s Administration responded to China’s economic growth moderately due to varied and complex reasons. Such include the fact that the rising global wealth is not a zero-sum game and China’s economic growth poses no problem to the US. The China-US trade worked for both nations as jobs for Chinese and low-priced goods were made available to Americans.China is the single largest non-US holder of Treasury debt and this was the main reason that both President Bush and Obama were moderate since there wasn’t much they could do.
The traditional hub-and-spokes security relationship was maintained by both Bush and Obama with various Pacific nations and this maintained calm relations.
The President-elect Donald Trump has totally different view as he portrays China’s economic growth as illegitimate and caused by biased currency policy as opposed to export of lowly priced goods. Trump believes that he can alter the negotiating calculus by formulating the traditionally obliging US position.
Trump appears to be fairly unconcerned about China’s ambitions in the geopolitical arena he made it clear during the campaign trail that Japan should pay more for the US troops in Japan as he criticized the US treaty obliging to defend Japan. That marks a 180-degree turn from the traditional US policy approach. The Bush and Obama’s administration were only concerned of China’s increasing military strength all the while they welcomed China’s economic growth.
It’s obvious that China’s export-driven economy cannot afford a trade war with the US. However, China’s response will be determined by Xi Jinping’s political objectives. Its worth noting that the danger of economic and military escalation is not small and there’s a high probability that Trump’s presidency may be defined by how he relates with fastest rising rival.