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US-China Relations - 3. page Government Officials and the Media Misinterpreted Xi Jinping’s Intentions

On July 6, the U.S. launched a 25 percent tariff on $34 billion worth of imports from China. Hong Kong published an article on an interview it had with a Chinese official who works in the foreign diplomacy department and chose not to be identified. The official conveyed a very different message from the official Chinese media. It could be an indication that Beijing wants to change its position in the Sino US trade War. Below is a summary of the statement the official made during the interview.

Beijing reached a consensus internally long ago that the Sino-US trade war was inevitable and that Sino-US relations will enter an unprecedented period of tension. Since the 18th Congress, China’s internal and external policies have shown that China hopes to enhance its international status and increase its international influence. It has used a certain approach that has violated the existing economic and security practices that the U.S. has established. The U.S. has made frequent diplomatic accusations.

Xi Jinping clearly understands the gap in which China lags behind the U.S. and that the U.S. is the only superpower in the world. However, some officials and media have misinterpreted Xi’s intention. Xi never wanted to change the foreign policy of “hide our capabilities and bide our time” left from the Deng Xiaoping era. Two proposals that Xi made were based on his assessment of China’s current situation: the first was that, “the Pacific Ocean is big enough to accommodate both China and the U.S.” and the second was the “one belt one road project.” Xi made the first proposal and wanted the U.S. to understand that China has no intention of threatening the U.S. position in the Asia Pacific region. The second proposal was meant to fix the excess domestic capacity and create more job opportunities for the Chinese people. However there are a considerable number of officials within the Chinese government and some of the Chinese Communist Party’s media who misinterpreted the central strategic intentions. They interpreted that first proposal as if Beijing wanted to be equal to the U.S. and challenge the U.S. dominant position in the world. The official media took the second proposal and widely promoted nationalism and populism in China. This caused an unrealistic expectation among Chinese officials and the general public. The official also blamed the western media for capitalizing on the opportunity. They widely publicized the nationalism and populism trends and caused China’s image to suffer a big loss in the international community. In summary the current Sino-US relationship resulted from the officials misinterpreting the central government’s intention, making improper judgments, and issuing improper instructions. The media then publicized the populist sentiments. The article that People’s Daily recently published was meant to correct the hyperbolic and boastful writing style that the official media have used.

As to the future of the Sino-US relationship, China will continue to maintain reasonable and polite diplomacy with the U.S. It will find different channels so as to establish a unilateral solution to minimize the negative impact to China’s domestic economy, serve China’s national interest, and fight for the interests of the Chinese people.

Source:, July 10, 2018

Chinese Scholar: Fundamental Change in the Sino-U.S. Relationship

{Editor’s Note: In April, Yuan Peng, the Deputy President of the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, published an article commenting on the Sino-U.S. relationship. In his view, what is happening right now between China and the U.S. is the first serious clash between the two countries in the past one hundred years. Continue reading

People’s Daily Opinion Articles Attack U.S. for Launching Sino-U.S. Trade War

Since last Friday, People’s Daily has published a series of opinion articles on the Sino-U.S. trade war. Below are highlights from two of the opinion articles.

In the article it published on July 11, titled “Be wary of the ‘cold war trap’ that US unilateral protectionism has set up,” it attacked the U.S. “not only for seriously jeopardizing the safety of the global industrial chain and value chain, but also for hindering the pace of economic recovery. It (the U.S.) also brings the risk of sliding the normal world economic and trade pattern into trade protectionism and unilateralism in a ‘cold war trap.’” The article called out the following actions that the U.S. has taken in order to “expose the poisons the U.S. brings to international relationships.” It politicizes the trade issue; it has resumed the 232 investigation; withdrawn from the TPP, the Paris Agreement, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and the Iran Deal; it has openly violated World Trade Organization regulations and has used the investigation results from 301 to impose tariffs on other countries; it expanded the definition of national security and frequently seizes foreign investments in the high-tech field.

In a report published on July 9, titled “The U.S. ‘Zero Sum Trade Theory’ is a kind of evil that harms the world,” it claimed that the trade war the U.S. launched against China has drawn criticism from the international community. “The zero sum trade war game that the U.S. is playing is against the law. It not only impacts Sino-US economic and trade cooperation, but also brings great uncertainty to the entire world economy.” The article claimed, “Under its zero sum mentality, ‘America First’ is evolving into extreme self-interest.” The article stated that in 2017, the trade between China and the U.S. reached US$583.7 billion. It was 233 times what it was after the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 1979. The article further claimed that, “The huge Chinese market that the world values is increasingly becoming an important business growth point and profit consideration in the global strategy of U.S. companies. … Let other countries sacrifice their own core interests to pay for the unreasonable demands of the U.S. This is a backward and outdated concept of trade.”

1. People’s Daily, July 11, 2018

2. People’s Daily, July 9, 2018

China’s Direct Investment in the U.S. Went into Free Fall

Well-known Chinese news site Tencent News recently reported that, according to an independent study that the Rhodium Group conducted, in the first five months of this year, China’s direct investment in the United States (including mergers) saw a year-over-year sharp decline of 92 percent, to US$1.8 billion. This is the lowest level in seven years. If one counts the sell-off of China-owned U.S. assets, China’s direct investment in the U.S. is actually -US$7.8 billion. The drama of Chinese companies “sweeping” the U.S. market with mega-deals has “faded into history.” The same statistics in 2016 were a completely different story. China’s direct investment doubled in 2016 to $46 billion. Since the second half of last year, the Chinese government has put a very tight control over out-flowing capital. As Xinhua has indicated, starting early this year, in the name of national security, the U.S. government has subjected Chinese investments to tight reviews. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) has stopped many Chinese investment projects. Many Chinese companies are still in the process of selling their U.S. assets.

Source: Tencent News, June 21, 2018

Chinese Embassy in the U.S. Warns Chinese Tourists That U.S. Is Not Safe to Visit

Epoch Times reported that, just days prior to the start of the U.S. China trade war, the Chinese Embassy in the U.S. issued a notice on its website stating that the U.S. is not safe and that there is a high occurrence of gun violence, robbery, and theft. It warned Chinese tourists that they need to be alert to suspicious people around them and to avoid going out at night. The notice reminded the Chinese tourists that, when they call 911, they must speak Chinese so they can receive Chinese language assistance and also, if they believe that the law enforcement officers have improper conduct or discriminating behavior, they should collect proper evidence so they can appeal the case. The notice also warned about high medical costs in the U.S. and the danger of natural disasters in the summer season.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, three million Chinese tourists visited the U.S. in 2017, the largest number next to Canada, Mexico, the U.K., and Japan.

Source: Epoch Times, July 3, 2018

People’s Daily: The American Trade Bully Is Harming the World

At midnight on Friday, July 6, the first day of the U.S. tariffs against billions of dollars of Chinese goods took effect. People’s Daily, the Chinese Communist Party’s mouthpiece, struck back with an editorial.

The article made the accusation that, “The U.S. violated the WTO’s rules and launched the largest trade war to date.” It continued, “This (the U.S. tariffs) will not shake the foundation of China’s economic development, it will not weaken the confidence of the Chinese people in achieving the goal of ‘two hundred years,’ and it (the U.S.) will surely be hit back. However, the unreasonable arrogance carried by the trade hegemonism of the United States is quite damaging. It not only harms the interests of the enterprises and peoples of both countries, but also threatens the global free trade and multilateral system and hinders the pace of world economic recovery.

“The White House will not forget that more than half a century ago, China, suffering from war trauma and devastation, spoke out loud, ‘Blockade, blockade for eight and ten years, and all problems in China will have been solved.’ Today, as China is stepping toward the center of the World’s stage with strong national strength and moral appeal, will she allow the U.S. trade hegemonism to damage the core interests of the country and ask the people to make unprincipled concessions? Moreover, as a responsible power, China clearly understands that winning this trade war will make the U.S. see clearly that trade bullying has no future. We are thus defending the international economic and trade order. ‘If the war ends the war, the war is worth fighting.’ Without a bitter lesson, it is difficult for those who are blinded by self-interest to wake up and get back to reality.”

“The trade bully will never ever succeed!”

Source: People’s Daily, July 6, 2018

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