“Is Trump totally insane?” Experts and the international community couldn’t help but ask this question after US President Donald Trump threatened to “cut off the whole relationship” with China on Thursday in an interview with FOX Business. Observers said that Trump’s word would never deter China, but may shock US political and business circles and its own people, and may put world peace in a dangerous position.
“There are many things we could do,” Trump told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo Thursday. “We could cut off the whole relationship.” Trump added that ending relations with China would “save $500 billion.”
Fox Business said in a report that Trump’s Thursday remarks were one of his “strongest comments yet in dealing with China” in the wake of its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Americans will suffer
“Again! Trump is talking nonsense.” Trump seems to be losing his mind right now. Even he has such crazy ideas of cutting ties with China, US politicians, businessmen and Americans would not allow him to do so, Xin Qiang, deputy director of the Center for US Studies at Fudan University, told the Global Times.
He noted that Trump is bluffing and acting tough toward China to win more support. Fox News, which has been regarded as Trump’s defender and is notorious for a lack of professionalism, is also making eye-catching news to draw attention.
Jin Canrong, the associate dean of Renmin University of China’s School of International Studies in Beijing, told the Global Times on Thursday that Trump made very irresponsible and emotional remarks in the interview.
“The China-US relationship is the most important bilateral relationship in the world and involves huge interests of the two countries, as well as the rest of the world. Therefore, it is not something he can cut off emotionally,” Jin said.
“If the US unilaterally cuts off ties, the American people will pay a heavier price than us, because China’s domestic market is huge and 75-80 percent of Chinese manufacturers are supplying China’s market, and the 2 to 5 percent that supply the US can also be absorbed by the domestic market,” he noted.
US stocks fell sharply in pre-market trading, with the Dow and NASDAQ futures all dropping more than one percent after Trump’s remarks on Thursday.
China has nothing to be afraid of as “in the past, we didn’t solve the Taiwan question because we wanted to maintain the China-US relationship, and if the US unilaterally cuts it off, we can just reunify Taiwan immediately since the Chinese mainland has an overwhelming advantage to solve this long-standing problem.”
“Trump is like a giant baby on the brink of a meltdown as he faces tremendous pressure due to massive failures that caused such a high death toll,” Shen Yi, an expert from Fudan University, told the Global Times. “It’s like someone who wants to show his guts when he passes by a cemetery in midnight. He needs to shout to give himself the courage,” he said.
Shen also noted that the American companies and industries would suffer the most severe consequences, because the supply chain has been integrated with China.
“The Chinese public would only take such bluffing as a joke,” Shen said, adding that there has been no US president in the history who has made such a ridiculous statement against China, not even during the Cold War.
Yuan Zheng, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), said he could not even remember any US leader who took a similar action. “His flip-flop rhetoric is unprecedented, but we need to take a look at whether Trump will take real action,” he said, noting that there is no need to pay attention to claims that are unrealistic and meaningless.
New farce, height of blaming China
In the past two months, instead of focusing on handling the COVID-19 pandemic, Trump and his team have insisted on blaming China by using all kinds of excuses – from hyping conspiracies of the virus’ origin, to accusing China of covering up the virus.
Against the backdrop of still increasing infections and deaths from COVID-19 in the US, with no inflection point in sight, Trump has become grumpy and more eager to blame the scapegoat – China, experts said.
“Trump is like a cornered beast doing something desperate, or he could not continue to stay in American politics,” Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations of the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Thursday.
In a short term, Trump’s words can be taken as election language, Li said.
“The most important thing to Trump is to win the election and maintain power. Everything else can be sacrificed.”
In a long run, frictions and conflicts will continue to surface between China and the US. Divergence management will be a major mission of the two sides. It will not be surprising if the management fails and the conflict worsens, said Li, noting that China-US ties could not go back to the past and it is hard to predict how they would develop in the long run.
Jin noted Trump probably wants China to make more compromises in the future trade deal, and “maybe he doesn’t want China to sell medical supplies to states controlled by the Democrats, but only wants China to sell them to his son-in-law,” Jared Kushner, who is in charge of the medical supplies of the Trump administration.
Lü Xiang, a research fellow on US studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times that the failed handling of the Trump administration of the COVID-19 pandemic is causing total disorder to the country, and the administration’s behavior is getting more unpredictable.
“For Trump, fantasy is power; bluffing is power, so he might use the future of his country to gamble with China. Although China always believes cooperation is the only right choice for the two countries to solve the problems together, if the US unilaterally and irrationally chooses all-out confrontation, China also needs to be prepared.”
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