After reading the text carefully, reply in English and in your own words to the following questions.
- Why is China ‘seriously concerned’ by the recent comments of the US president-elect?
Donald Trump has recently questioned several cornerstones of Sino-US diplomatic and commercial relations. Firstly, by challenging the long-accepted notion of one China and secondly by taking a much tougher stance on trade. Arguably it is a logical move based on his campaign platform to bring jobs back to the US and to re-stablish a level playing field with the Chinese.
- How is Donald Trump’s foreign policy different to an Obama 3.0?
The foreign policy of President Obama is to a large extent the continuation of a diplomatic approach favoured by both Democrats and Republicans for many years except perhaps for the more hawkish years of the Reagan administration. What really differs with President-elect Donald Trump is a seemingly business-like approach to foreign affairs where brinkmanship and upping the odds have replaced discussion and compromise.
- What do you think Orville Schell means when he says, “He sometimes punches Beijing and he sometimes seems to reach out and hug them”
Examples from the text of Donald Trump blowing hot and cold on Beijing are his recent cordial phone conversation with the Taiwanese President followed by the subsequent nomination of a pro-China specialist, Terry Branstad.
- What is the “One China” policy?
This policy acknowledges the notion of a united China, in other words that both mainland China and Taiwan are the same country. The origin of this policy dates back to 1949 when the communists established the people’s republic of China on the mainland and the nationalists fled to Taiwan. President Carter sealed the notion of one China by formally recognizing Beijing as the sole government of China in 1978 and closing the American Embassy in Taipei the following year.
- ESSAY. Write a short, well-argued essay in English (two pages) on one of the subjects below.
Circle the number which corresponds to the essay chosen.
- Could Donald Trump’s chest-thumping over China trigger a trade war?
Donald Trump was elected based on his promise to bring jobs back to the US and to make America great again. Whether he truly believes in those goals or not, he is playing to his voters through bluster and brinkmanship in his current dealings with China. The blue-collar workers in the States see China as the principal source of industrial decline and job loss. There is also an ingrained and hard-held belief that the Chinese do not play by the same rules and that the US needs to get tough on trade protectionism.
Clearly such a stance could trigger a trade war which would then have enormous consequences on global peace and prosperity. It is worth remembering the trillions of dollars of commerce that transit the South China Sea every year. China could become more belligerent with Taiwan, flex even more its muscles in the South China Sea by building military facilities and drilling for oil. This could then have negative repercussions on Vietnam and the Philippines.
On the other hand, who would profit from such a trade war?
China has become the world’s factory floor and exports four times as much to the States as it imports from then. Therefore on paper it looks like China has more to lose. However China could target specific American companies such as Boeing, Apple or American car manufacturers.
Stepping back a little and putting the above into perspective, perhaps the reality is considerably more nuanced.
The trade war already exists and Trump’s position today is little different from that of the Reagan administration vis-à-vis Japan in the 80’s. The same actions will probably produce the same negative results for American workers.
Bringing industry back to the States and imposing additional tariffs on Chinese imports in the current and increasingly automated era where robots have replaced workers is naïve. The real question today concerns more the future of work and the underlying question of how to adapt to change as a constant process.
Trump is first of all a businessman, he wants a better deal. Threatening China on a political and economic level is just a gambit. At the same time he is paying lip service to his electors. He stands to gain nothing from a fully-fledged trade war. He knows it and so do the Chinese.