Author: Yang Sheng

Posted: November 10,2016

Chinese observers are cautiously optimistic about Sino-US relations under an administration of president-elect Donald Trump as the tycoon shocked the world with his victory in the US presidential election on Wednesday.

[…]China expects to make joint efforts with the new US government to maintain the sustained, healthy and stable growth of China-US relations, and benefit the people of both countries and the world, said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang on Wednesday. 

Max Baucus, US ambassador to China, said in Beijing that the election result will not heavily impact Sino-US relations because the two countries are so intertwined. 

China and the US will keep working together on major global issues, such as climate change, Afghanistan and North Korea, Baucus affirmed, saying, «In the future we will be closer since there are many shared challenges for both of us.»

Although Trump was quick to criticize China during the election campaign, Chinese experts are optimistic for the future Sino-US relations.

«TPP has been clinically dead, and US’ strategy of returning to the Asia Pacific will be weakened,» said Jin Canrong, associate dean of the School of International Studies at the Renmin University of China, referring to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, which has been promoted by the Obama administration and seen as a trade club of countries aimed at sidelining China.

Trump pays much less attention to the Asia Pacific than Obama and Hillary Clinton, and therefore China will face less strategic pressure from the US, Jin said.

[…]Trump has said on various occasions that the US protection umbrella for its allies should not be free, revealing an inclination toward isolationism.

Under a Trump administration, the US will be caught up in endless quarrels with its neighbors over immigration issues, and with trading partners for the protectionism advocated by Trump during his campaign, said Jin.

Trump had also slammed China many times during the campaign, calling for a 45 percent tax on Chinese products. But Jin believes that most of these comments are election rhetoric and have no feasibility at all. 

«Trump is unpredictable, but there will be ample room for China to improve bilateral ties with him in the White House,» said Wang Yiwei, a senior fellow of international relations at the Renmin University of China.

China, along with Russia, will face less pressure from the Trump administration as two strategic rivals of the US, said Jin. He predicts that the US and Russia may reach some consensus on Syria and how to deal with IS.

But this is not the end of the world for the US, according to Chu Yin, associate professor form the University of International Relation. «Just like Ronald Reagan, Trump has no experience and will use common sense to run a country. It could be a good result for the US people as well.»

«Most Chinese experts are surprised by the result, because we too trusted the mainstream traditional US media, and we thought they would represent the majority and the elites,» Jin said. «Social media was underestimated, so the anger from the grass-roots and the ‘silent majority’ against Wall Street and Washington DC finally pushed Trump into the White House.»

Trump will start with domestic problems and then make time for international ones, said Ni Feng, deputy director of the Institute of American Studies at Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. 

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