BEIJING: US President Donald Trump’s decision to roll back his rhetoric on ‘One China’ policy is a sign that he is “learning” about his new job and no longer wants to be a “disruptor” of the Sino-US ties, China’s official media said on Saturday.
Hailing Trump’s surprise commitment to Chinese President Xi Jinping during their first phone call to abide by the ‘One China’ policy which was observed by the US for decades, recognising Taiwan as part of Chinese mainland, the state-run Global Times said Trump has changed his rhetoric about China.
“Since assuming office, Trump and his team have changed their rhetoric about China. Trump has stopped openly challenging China’s core interests, and instead showed respect to Beijing,” it said in an editorial.
“The change creates an impression that Trump is learning about his role in the realm of Sino-US ties. He’s now sending a new message that he does not want to be a disruptor of the Sino-US relations,” the editorial said.
Cheng Li, director of the John L. Thornton China Centre of the Brookings Institution, told the Daily that improving US relations with China and Russia is part of Trump’s global strategy.
Li Haidong, a professor of US studies at China Foreign Affairs University, said that Trump’s clarification on the One-China policy is likely the result of evolving discussions within the Trump team on China policies and the end of the team’s internal divergence.
Since China is indispensable for resolving many global and regional issues, part of Trump’s long-term diplomatic strategy may be to “strike a balance between US treaty allies and China”, not sabotaging ties with either side, Li said.
Zhong Feiteng, an expert on Asia-Pacific affairs at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Trump’s clarification might have been partly driven by the urgency to fulfill his campaign pledges on economic policies.
“Since China accounts for 30 to 40 per cent of global growth, if he breaks up with China, it will be quite difficult for him to boost public satisfaction and employment,” Zhong said.