News roundup: How complicated are U.S.-China relations about to get?
Articles grappling with the new reality of a Trump presidency and its implications for China and U.S.-China relations continue to pour out of media organizations.
A few highlights of this coverage include an article from The Wall Street Journal, which explores how Trump’s turn as America’s top leader might shake up and inject confusion into U.S.-China economic relations. The authors declare that the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is “toast,” a trade war may begin, and a decline in the U.S. dollar may boost the status of the yuan. In short, the U.S.-China relationship will be “at the center” of a changed world for companies and investors. Reuters reports that with the TPP in jeopardy, Chinese officials are trying to build up support for their Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
Broad reactions from across East Asia were summed up clearly in this article from The New York Times: “There was disbelief that Mr. Trump would follow through on his trade threats,” while at the same time, and perhaps more importantly, “there was also unease that his election could portend a retreat by the United States from the region that could embolden China, force Japan and South Korea to consider alternatives to the American nuclear umbrella and unleash long-suppressed tensions.” Those tensions include Japanese nationalism, which has been heating up in recent years, and the potential for South Korea to go nuclear as it guards against threats from the north.
SupChina has also produced a special analysis of the news with an extra Sinica Podcast featuring Isaac Stone Fish, a senior fellow at the Asia Society’s Center on U.S.-China Relations and a former Asia editor at Foreign Policy. Kaiser and Isaac address some tricky questions: Are Chinese elites and the Communist Party leadership happy with the outcome? Will Trump’s fiery anti-China rhetoric on the campaign trail translate into actual policy? And how will the Trump victory impact views on democracy among Chinese people?
More China stories to watch are linked below.
- Yuan falls to six-year low amid concern Trump will target China / Bloomberg
The protectionist leanings of the next American president and their impact on trade with China helped push the yuan toward its lowest closing level since September 2010.
- Opinion: China’s slippery consumers / Bloomberg
Marks & Spencer has joined a number of Western retailers that have failed in the increasingly difficult struggle to win over China’s mass market, as consumption slows and local firms pull ahead of foreign operations, writes Nisha Gopalan.
- Alibaba posts $1 billion in sales in the first five minutes of the Singles’ Day shopping event / Bloomberg
Alibaba enlisted top celebrities, including the Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson, to drum up attention for its 24-hour shopping event of November 11, which may give clues about the health of the Chinese economy.
- Beijing to the U.S.: Your democracy is broken, please don’t change a thing / Quartz
Among the reactions from Chinese officials and state media to Trump’s victory, a call for stability is a resounding theme, as well as the importance of the economic ties between the nations.
- Opinion: China can become a better hedge against U.S. risk / Reuters
“The election of Donald Trump as the next U.S. president opens the door for greater Chinese influence in Asia at American expense. To take advantage, however, China must share its wealth more widely and treat neighbors more like partners and less like the client states many used to be,” writes Pete Sweeney.
- U.K.-China relations still ‘golden,’ says prime minister, as investment talks open / The Guardian
Britain’s prime minister, Theresa May, and the nation’s chancellor are meeting with senior officials from China to try to obtain about $6.3 billion worth of investments in infrastructure and property deals.
- Chinese official Meng Hongwei to head Interpol / BBC
China’s vice minister of public security, Meng Hongwei, is the first Chinese citizen to serve as president of the executive committee of the agency that facilitates global police cooperation. The appointment raised worries with Amnesty International about Interpol’s influence on the arrest of Chinese refugees and dissidents abroad.
- Parents of ‘left behind’ rural children to face prosecution / Caixin
China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs said that parents could lose custody of their children if they leave them behind for more than six months.
- Gods, breasts and Britney: Chinese artist reflects on youth identity in globalized, post-internet world / SCMP
The Chinese artist Chen Tianzhuo has created works that incorporate a lamb carcass, an inflatable doll, Hindu and Buddhist iconography, and hip-hop culture in order “to portray himself as part of a globalized, post-internet world, where the words ‘east’ and ‘west’ have become increasingly meaningless.”
- Beijing unveils five-year plan to tackle air pollution / Caixin
The Chinese capital aims to reduce the level of PM2.5 particles, the cancer-causing pollutant that penetrates the lungs, by 30 percent by 2020.
- Climate activists now hope Trump was just joking about that whole China thing / Quartz
The next American president has called climate change a Chinese deception and a “hoax,” and global leaders are wondering if he will pull the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement made last year. China’s top climate negotiator, warning Trump days before his election victory, said that “a wise political leader should take policy stances that conform with global trends.”