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Why China Doesn’t Want Trump Back as President

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The geopolitical landscape between China and the United States has been fraught with tension, and the potential return of former President Donald Trump to the White House is a significant concern for Beijing. why China would be uneasy welcoming Trump back and the implications for Sino-American relations.

Trump’s Aggressive Stance on China

During his tenure, Trump adopted a confrontational approach towards China, marking a sharp departure from previous administrations’ more diplomatic tactics. His administration’s policies were characterized by:

Trade Wars: Trump initiated a series of tariffs on Chinese goods, leading to a prolonged trade war that impacted global markets.

Sanctions and Blacklists: Key Chinese tech companies, including Huawei and ZTE, faced sanctions and restrictions, severely affecting their global operations.

Military Posturing: The Trump administration increased U.S. naval presence in the South China Sea and conducted freedom of navigation operations, challenging China’s territorial claims.

Fear of a Strong Response to Taiwan Aggression

A primary concern for China is Trump’s potential response to any aggressive moves towards Taiwan. Taiwanese defense expert Dr. Ming-Shih Shen suggests that Beijing views Trump as likely to respond very strongly to any attempt by China to invade or coerce Taiwan. Under Trump, the U.S. ramped up military support and diplomatic engagement with Taiwan, which included:

Arms Sales: Significant arms deals were approved to bolster Taiwan’s defense capabilities.

High-Profile Visits: Senior U.S. officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, visited Taiwan, signaling strong support.

Military Presence: Regular transits of U.S. naval vessels through the Taiwan Strait underscored U.S. commitment to Taiwan’s security.

Trump’s Inner Circle and China Hawks

Trump’s administration was filled with officials known for their hardline views on China. Figures like Mike Pompeo and Matthew Pottinger were vocal critics of Beijing and instrumental in shaping aggressive policies. China’s sanctioning of 28 Trump administration officials on Biden’s inauguration day highlights Beijing’s disdain for this cohort.

 

Comparison with Biden’s Approach

In contrast, President Biden’s approach has been perceived as more moderate, though still firm. Biden has continued some of Trump’s policies but has also sought to stabilize relations:

Dialogue and Engagement: Biden’s administration has pursued diplomatic channels to manage tensions.

Strategic Alliances: Strengthening alliances in the Indo-Pacific region, while seeking to balance competition with cooperation.

The U.S.-Taiwan Semiconductor Industry

A critical area of U.S.-Taiwan collaboration that has implications for Sino-American relations is the semiconductor industry. Taiwan produces approximately 60% of the world’s semiconductors, making it a pivotal player. Trump’s comments criticizing Taiwan’s semiconductor industry for “stealing” U.S. jobs created unease, though the Biden administration has sought to mitigate these concerns through collaborative agreements, such as the $6.6 billion deal with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. to expand operations in Arizona.

Potential return

The potential return of Donald Trump to the White House is a significant concern for China due to his administration’s previous aggressive stance and actions. Beijing fears a resurgence of policies that could escalate tensions, particularly regarding Taiwan. As the 2024 U.S. presidential election approaches, the geopolitical dynamics between China, Taiwan, and the United States will be closely watched, with far-reaching implications for global stability and economic security.

By understanding the nuances of these relationships and the historical context of recent U.S. administrations, one can appreciate why China might be particularly uneasy about the prospect of Trump’s return to power.

Saeed Minhas
Saeed Minhas
Saeed Minhas is an accomplished journalist with extensive experience in the field. He has held prominent positions such as Editor at Daily Times and Daily Duniya. Currently, he serves as the Chief Editor (National) at The Think Tank Journal

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