POTUS Trump and China Relations: Attitude without Strategy

2019 Jan 15 Assessing U.S.-China relations 2 years into the Trump presidency by David Dollar, Ryan Hass, and Jeffrey A. Bader

-attitude without strategy
-common complaints against China:

discriminatory trade barriers, forced technology transfer, militarization of outposts in the South China Sea, pressure on Taiwan, human rights and religious freedom, government-sponsored cyber-enabled economic espionage, and Chinese interference in other countries’ political systems.

-possible US objectives: 1. compel China to alter its behavior in specific issue areas of concern, 2. to “decouple” the American economy from China’s through supply chain diversification, 3. to obstruct China’s rise
-no strategy as to how to do this
-seems each dept doing their own objectives, no coordinated plan
-no dialogue, just unilateral US demands
-no multilateral deals with US: exit TPP, wants to leave WTO
-seems US wants to:

  • Seek massive restructuring of the Chinese economy
  • Promote de-coupling of the U.S. economy from China
  • Practical compromise based on continued gradual opening

-will not coordinate with allies and push China, this is to China’s benefit
-as a result, Asian partners hedging bets with China

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